COMMENTARY| The Associated Press reports the NFL will meet with members of the Oneida Indian Nation sometime soon regarding the issue of the moniker “Redskins” as it is associated with Washington’s professional football franchise. Oneida representative Ray Halbritter called the meeting “historic” and called the team’s epithet “divisive.” The move comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s brief comments in which he supported a name change for the NFL franchise.
Washington should change the name of its NFL team. Here’s why.
FedEx Field was built in 1997. Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999. Even legendary coach Joe Gibbs was brought back to coach the team for four seasons from 2004 to 2007. Despite all of this glitz and glamor, Washington has won just three playoff games in five appearances, and has just six winning seasons, since their last Super Bowl victory in 1991 more than 20 years ago. It’s time for a complete overhaul of the franchise, and there is no better way to do that then having a new moniker.
Colleges did it, so why not the pros?
Professional sports have often dictated what the NCAA does–college football made goalposts smaller and got rid of the kicking tee for 3-point tries because of pro football. Why can’t the NFL take a cue from the NCAA’s 2005 mandate to ban insensitive Indian mascots? Each individual college had to change athletic names or face postseason bans and possible financial losses. Institutions had to foot the bill for rebranding the logo changes. Surely, Washington’s NFL franchise has the money to re-do its image since it is a privately-held company.
Does the team in the national seat of government want this image?
The history of the United States isn’t perfect. Women weren’t even allowed to vote nationwide until 1920 and 18-year-olds weren’t allowed to vote until 1971! Before that, the great expansion of the United States was borne on the backs of Chinese immigrants, African slaves and Native Americans who were powerless to stop “manifest destiny.” Why would the seat of our nation’s government want to be associated with a disgraceful name that denigrates a race of people based upon their skin color when politicians in Washington should be standing up for equal rights for all?
Compare other team names
No one wants a team name like the Kansas City Caucasians, New Orleans Negroes, Kentucky Klansmen, Green Bay Gays, Akron Adolfs or Jacksonville Jews, right? To single out an entire race of human beings is insensitive at best, morally wrong at worst. If there were a team with the name “Jews” in it, that organization would change it faster than one can sing “Hail to the Redskins.”
It’s not PC
This name issue is not about political correctness. It’s about human decency. No one should harbor a name that even smacks of genocide. In today’s contemporary society, there is no place for a name that harkens to hate speech and indelible crimes against humanity perpetrated in America’s dark past. White Europeans, through attrition and subjugation, eradicated so-called “redmen” and the native way of life on the North American continent in their lust for greed, gold, God and glory. It is wholly inappropriate to “honor” such a tradition by keeping such an outdated and old-fashioned name from the 1920s and 1930s.
There is simply no place for the Redskins in contemporary society, It’s time for the NFL to lead by example and make a stand for what’s right. Change the name.
William Browning is a frequent contributor to political stories on the Yahoo! Contributor Network.