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When the ombudsmen of the major paper, The Washington Post< writes column likePatrick Pexton: Listening to Native Americans, one has to wonder.  In that column we learned that were the team now led by Quarterback Rober Griffin III ever to return to play its games within the city limits, the current mayor, VIncent Gray

said recently that, if the football team were once again to play its games in the District, a discussion would have to be held on its name.
 This is within the context of yet another lawsuit against the team's name coming in March, a symposium at the Museum of the American Indian on the topic of team nicknames in sports, and recent news coverage of a swimming team at a high profile girls school, Holton Arms, where the swimmers wore feathers and face paint.  And as Paxton notes,
columnists have been talking with Native Americans about these issues for a couple of decades.
I will explore Paxton's column anon, but I will start with this for those who do not know the teams history - the nickname has absolutely nothing to do with honoring Native Americans.

Washington's NFL team was originally based in Boston, from which it was eventually moved to DC by its owner, laundry mogul George Preston Marshall, who in the current location was the last NFL owner to have a black player, in part because his was until expansion the southern-most NFL team and he had a radio monopoly from DC south to Florida.  

Boston in those days was the home of baseball's Braves.   When the NFL team was founded, the ownership tried to use that name but were forced to backdown in the face of legal opposition from the baseball franchise and the thus switched to the related - and far more offensive - name of "Redskins."   No one made any pretense that the baseball team had picked its nickname because of any respect for the traditions of Native Americans.  Instead that name came from an important local - and national - historic event on December 16, 1775, when to protest an unpopular tax local patriots dressed in Native American garb and dumped the wares of the East India Tea Company into Boston Harbor.  Native-American names at least could claim some relevance to local tradition in the original New England setting, but the nickname lacked even that relevance in the National Capital.  It is like a team from Minneapolis  or from Brooklyn still keeping what had been relevant local names in LA - Lakers or Dodgers -  or team once in New Orleans continuing to call itself the Jazz when in Salt Lake City.

Returning to Paxton's column, he writes about having talked with Native American groups and individuals about what the Holton Arms swimmers did, and admits that his words are probably insufficient to describe the depth of feeling he encountered.  Consider these two paragraphs:  

Wearing face paint and feathers, many Native Americans feel, is a taking of their cultural and religious traditions. The paint and feathers have distinct meanings for each tribe and nation, and they often are worn only because an individual has earned them through tests, deeds and ceremonies of which white culture has little knowledge or appreciation.

The best analogy I could come up with is the way we treat U.S. military uniforms and insignia. It is against federal law for a civilian to wear the uniform of a U.S. soldier, sailor, airman or Marine for personal gain. Similarly, within the military, if you wear a medal or insignia that you didn’t earn, it is a crime under military law.

Paxton does not mention that at least some educational institutions have dropped nicknames  - St.John's University in New York City changed from Redmen to Red Storm, and Stanford changed from from Indian to Cardinal.

Paxton quotes Suzan Shown Harjo, a Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, who was part of the first suit against the NFL teams name, which the team lost on original hearing but won on appeal.  She was herself a competitive swimmer.  She does not think the Holton Arms girls need to diminish their own strength by using "symbols they don't understand or respect" - a lack of understanding I think very relevant to the nickname of the NFL team.

Allow me to quote somewhat more extensively.  Paxton has spoken not only with her, bu with other Native Americans, and all see that nickname as racist:  

It hearkens to the early European settling of this country, when French and British authorities put bounties on the heads, or skins, of Native American men, women and children.

“Every major national Native American organization has declared that the name of the pro football team in our nation’s capital is the most offensive thing native peoples can be called in the English language and has called for it to be changed,” she said.

“It’s okay if others aren’t offended by it,” she added. “They should respect that we are offended and that this is something they can do something about — in our world where we can do little about most things, this is something we can actually do something to fix. They should care about it even a tiny bit because we care about it so much.”

Paxton is not alone among writers from the Washington Post who have offered their words in support of the move to change the team's name.  

And I note that there are precedents for professional sports franchises changing their nicknames because they were offensive.  Two of those involve our national capital.  When the former baseball franchise moved from DC to Minnesota, it changed from the Senators to the Twins (in honor of the location within the Twin Cities metro area).  THe city obtained an NBA franchise that for a while kept its original name from Baltimore, the Bullets, a name in recognition of an ammunition factory of some prominence.  In light of the great gun violence a few decades back its then owner Abe Pollin dropped that name and replaced it with alliterative name of the Washington Wizards.

I have often explained to students that to Native Americans the term "Redskin" is just as offensive as are the words "Kike" or "Hebe" are to Jews,  "Wetbacks" to Mexican-Americans, "Polack" to Polish-Americans, "Slant" or "Gook" to Asian-Americans, or "Coon" or "Nigger" to African-Americans.

One has to wonder whether Dan Snyder, the current owner of the NFL franchise, is sensitive enough to these matters that the rising storm of protest against the name will have any effect upon him.  Based on his track record, he is unlikely to change the name unless forced to legally.  My suggestion has always been if he wants to keep the name he should change the symbol to a potato.  Until recently Redskin Potato Salad might have been considered complimentary to the team's performance, at least since the first departure of Joe Gibbs.  The presence of RGIII has somewhat changed that.

So perhaps the best we can hope for is that, like Patrick Paxton, DC's fans will begin to recognize that Native-Americans

flesh-and-blood Americans, as much a part of the warp and weft of the living fabric of this country as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.
Those who have been a part of this community for any period of time have experienced that - among our prominent members of Native=American descent are Meteor Blades, Navajo, and Ojibwa.   At the annual conventions there is a Native-American caucus.  Some of us who are not ourselves of that descent participate in helping with actions such as fuel bought through a Native American owned company for those on a reservation, and to support a house that provides protection and assistance to victims of sexual abuse.

Remember, Redskins is the most offensive thing native peoples can be called in the English language according to many native people.

I hope Paxton is correct when he begins his final paragraph by writing

I don’t think this city’s football fans or the Holton-Arms swimmers are racist.
  I know he is correct in the rest of his words in that paragraph:  
I’m sure they feel they’re honoring the warrior spirit. But most Native Americans don’t feel that way. We honor them most by listening.
It is long past time that this shame in our national capital be erased.  

It is long past time that we recognize the offensiveness of the team's nickname.

It is long past time that the NFL itself demand that if the ownership will not change the name on its own, the league demand it.

In the meantime, those of us who understand the offensive need not only to speak out, as has Paxton, but refuse to support that name in any way -  in our words, in any purchase of team merchandise.  

One would hope that some of the team's stars would recognize the offensiveness of the name and also speak out against it.

We can hope.

And knowing that the ombudsman of the paper has now joined other prominent voices, maybe this glacier is starting to melt?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Please do not add the name to the tags (30+ / 0-)

    I deliberately chose NOT to include it as my small action in support of the attempt to get the name changed

    thank you

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:02:17 AM PST

  •  did anyone else think it was strange/ironic that (8+ / 0-)

    Washington & Dallas played on Thanksgiving Day last year??? Yes this team should definitely change its name

    A solar spill is just called a nice day

    by furpletron on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:11:41 AM PST

    •  The Owner Of The Team Is Daniel Synder (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, forgore, NMRed, a2nite

      bought the team when he was like 35. He had billions to spend cause he was an advertising guy. I am an advertising guy. I often competed against his firm in the DC area, that he later sold to a French company.

      I often thought he'd change the name. Rebrand the team. But alas not so much.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:28:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  figured adv/marketing from screen name (0+ / 0-)

        are you still in D C area or did you move?

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:20:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think that might be easier said than done. (0+ / 0-)

        Owning a football franchise isn't the same as owning a bar (obviously).  Most of them have one "owner", but he or she has to answer to 20+ investors.  Contrary to the stereotype, many investors aren't just looking for the highest return dollar-wise; a lot of them want to own a piece for nostalgia, to say they're part of the team, etc....

    •  FYI - Dallas and Washington play each other (0+ / 0-)

      every Thanksgiving. And as a big football fan,  I cringe all the time at the name of the Washington team, not just on Thanksgiving. I avoid like the plague calling the the "Redskins", and usually just call them "Washington".

      If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On". //"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Denis Diderot

      by Oaktown Girl on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:46:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  wrong (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oaktown Girl

        prior to 2012, the last time the two teams played on Thanksgiving was 2002

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:55:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Whoops! (0+ / 0-)

          You're right. I don't know what I was thinking. Dallas does play every Thanksgiving, just not always Washington.

          If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On". //"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Denis Diderot

          by Oaktown Girl on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:34:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Correction - I do know what I was thinking... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cali Scribe

            they're in the same division, so they always play each other twice a year (just not always on Thanksgiving). That's where my brain farted out.

            If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On". //"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Denis Diderot

            by Oaktown Girl on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:39:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Agree wholeheartedly. (9+ / 0-)

    I cannot imagine an equally offensive name passing muster if it referred to any other ethnic group.

    Braves...Chiefs...bad enough.  But this...

    I don't know though how to convince a Daniel Snyder surrender what he sees as the entrenched value of his brand by changing the name of the franchise.

    I suspect that pressure on the NFL regarding the name is more likely to be successful than pressuring the franchise.  Change won't come until the league believes this is damaging to them as a whole.

    Sadly, this is right in tune with our capital city's entire history of race relations.  After all, its most monumental structures were built largely by slave labor.

    "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

    by Notthemayor on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:26:00 AM PST

    •  Is it the case that Braves and Chiefs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Notthemayor

      are okay but Redskins is not? Or should this be a discussion of dropping all three?

      •  Not being of Native ancestry... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy

        I don't know how offensive...or not...Native Americans find those team names.

        Though considering the racist imagery of Chief Wahoo in Cleveland...the offensive tradition of the Tomahawk Chop in Atlanta...I suspect a clean break would be in order for all of them.

        "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

        by Notthemayor on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:56:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Braves and Chiefs (0+ / 0-)

      can at least be rebranded in someway, perhaps with a logo change (ditto with Cleveland's Indians and the Chief Wahoo logo, and to a certain extent Chicago's Blackhawks of the NHL). Oh, and ditch the stupid "tomahawk chop" chant while they're at it (maybe it's a bit of karma that both teams have sucked over the years while performing the "chop").

      My junior high school was the Wilbur Warriors -- but it was a Roman warrior, not First Nations.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:59:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  NEMO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bink, MKinTN, happymisanthropy

    it's a GREAT name !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    use it often !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    for ANYTHING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    * Join: The Action: End the Bush Tax Cuts for Richest Two Percent * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:41:12 AM PST

  •  long overdue (8+ / 0-)

    but i'll believe it when i see it.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:41:31 AM PST

  •  We were the Redskins (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, a2nite

    An interesting story . . .

    So Miami Ohio's sports team in Oxford used to be the Redskins.  In the late 70's, there was the first of multiple efforts to change the name of the club.

    When the local indigenous peoples got word of the effort, they assembled on the University Provost's lawn in protest - 400 tribe members, including the Chief.

    Their message?  We are proud of being so honored since the University's inception in 1806 - and please don't change the name.

    Well the name change didn't happen that year, or the year after, but it eventually was indeed changed in time - today, Miami's sports clubs are the Miami Redhawks.

    Guns as self-defense insurance never were a magic bullet.

    by thenekkidtruth on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:53:59 AM PST

    •  something of an exception, eh? eom (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thenekkidtruth

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:21:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Similiar thing happened at Florida St (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thenekkidtruth

      where the Seminole tribe formally asked the university to keep the name. In Florida St's case. they have kept the Seminoles name, an exception to the NCAA's 2005 rule that outlawed such names from college sports.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:23:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Went to a hockey game there a couple of years ago (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thenekkidtruth

      A few people in the stands were still wearing apparel with the old logo.  The football stadium still has the logo at one spot on the outside.

      When Wright State started a sports program, they had to choose a nickname.  Since the school had originally been a joint branch campus of Miami (Redskins) and Ohio State (Buckeyes), a couple of suggestions were a combination - the Buckskins or the Redeyes.  They went with the boring and common Raiders.

      Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary. Does it improve the silence. (Courtesy Kos)

      by Scioto on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:27:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Similar situation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thenekkidtruth

      with the Florida State Seminoles -- the tribe not only has no objection to the name, they also are fine with the mascot and with the "tomahawk chop" chant performed by the fans. (I can't watch a Seminoles game for that reason -- that chant is worse than fingernails on a chalkboard to me.)

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:01:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  in all my years (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, teacherken

    and considering recent and intense research into my family history, i have never "come across" the fact of

    a bounty

    for a head or skin

    and i deeply regret not having been taught this, by anyone, whether family or regular school. there are plenty of references of the genocide we chose as our right as "civilized" people, for which i frequently apologize having been responsible no matter how far removed -- but this is brand new to me, and astounding (if that's the word i mean, when there are myriad to choose from).

    thank you for making me look, and cry.

    * Join: The Action: End the Bush Tax Cuts for Richest Two Percent * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:57:53 AM PST

  •  There Was A Time In My Life (7+ / 0-)

    where I was a Redskin season ticket holder. I never like the name. Now in my home state this happened, via Wikipedia:

    Chief Illiniwek was the mascot and the official symbol of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign associated with the University's intercollegiate athletic programs from 1926 to February 21, 2007. The mascot was portrayed by a student dressed in Sioux regalia to represent the Illiniwek, the state's namesake. The student portraying Chief Illiniwek performed during halftime of Illinois football and basketball games, as well as during women's volleyball matches.

    For more than two decades, Chief Illiniwek was the center of a controversy. At the root of the controversy is the view of several American Indian groups, as well as other people, both of color and white, that the symbol/mascot was a misappropriation of indigenous cultural figures and rituals and that it perpetuated stereotypes about American Indian peoples. As a result of this controversy, the NCAA termed Chief Illiniwek a "hostile or abusive" mascot and image in August 2005 and banned the university from hosting postseason activities as long as it continued to use the mascot and symbol.

    I live in a town named after an Indian tribe. Our high school mascot is an Indian. It pains me, cause well there are no Indians around me, we killed them all. I find the mascot to be a sad reminder.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:11:23 AM PST

  •  I had no idea that R-skin was the worst thing (6+ / 0-)

    to call Native Americans; it's important to know.

    I always thought using any word, derogatory or not, for Native American as a team name, and using their icons like feathers and war paint was very disrespectful and demeaning. We killed so many of them and killed many aspects of their culture and communities that I thought we didn't have a right to "borrow' anything about them and use it.

    But didn't know how bad that particular word felt.  Maybe some people who resist changes of team names also don't know that to many Native Americans it's like the N word etc.

    As someone pointed out when most of us were growing up we didn't learn much about the genoside of our native people--that probably contributes to the ignorance of why it would hurt so much to use those names and why some people can brush it off as "just being PC".

    (as an aside kids in some towns in my area do learn about the history of native peoples and their interaction with colonists and the US government but my guess is it' still not owned as a genocide, just like the rest of our society doesn't own that, it seems to me.)

    •  There Is A Video On The Internet (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jplanner, gffish, Cassandra Waites, Chi

      of a native American Indian at a rally of folks protesting illegal immigrants. He screams to them that his people didn't ask them to come there, where are their papers.

      I mentioned in another comment I live in a town named after an Indian tribe. I often ask folks if they feel kind of strange there are no more Indians left, we killed them all.

      Honestly nobody seems to have thought about it much.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:02:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I live in Massachusetts (4+ / 0-)

        and have only thought of it recently. When I did, I read up about them.

        "As one of the first groups of indigenous American peoples to encounter English colonists, the Massachusett had a rapid decline in population in the 17th and 18th centuries due to new infectious diseases. Descendants continue to inhabit the Greater Boston area. The Massachusett belong to the Algonquian-language family of peoples."

        (from wikipedia)
        It's good to bring it up and ask people, I think.

  •  Ajax Amsterdam (soccer team) has been "the Jews" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    … traditionally, if never officially. This is problematic mostly because of the behavior of opposing fans.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:37:39 AM PST

  •  Propose a new name? (9+ / 0-)

    The Washington "Reagans" seems appropriate, they seem to name everything else after the guy.

    The Washington "Hypocrites" rolls off the tongue nicely, and honors those in local politics.

    There's something appealing about the brutality of the front line, 300 lb. men crashing into each other, if they were called the Washington "Congressmen".

    The Washington "Goopers" would cheat to win.

    The Washington "Liberals" would lose every game due to politeness and being burdened by the desire to play fair and make sure everyone gets a chance to play.

    The Washington "Conservatives" would lose every game due to repeatedly losing yardage for offensive interference.

    My vote goes to the Washington "Wasps". Need I explain?

    We've been spelling it wrong all these years. It's actually: PRO-GOP-ANDA

    by Patriot4peace on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:51:09 AM PST

  •  Do a counter guerilla marketing campaign (6+ / 0-)

    based on the concept that "Redskins are Potatoes"

    With the desired result being a red potato as the helmet logo,and the mascot became a giant dancing spud and the fans wearing Mr. Potato Head type get-ups.

    The fans themselves who disapprove of the current  team name and logos could simply start showing up in potatohead gear any way, waving redskin potatoes. They could get a street meme going of "How'd the Potatoes do yesterday? Or, "I heard the potatoes really got mashed last night". They could twitter about the Washington Potatoes

    This would either be so embarrassing to the types involved in this macho, brutal sport that they would change the name and logo voluntarily OR there would be a clear societal understanding that "redskins" always and only refers to potatoes and never to humans.

    Kind of a different approach to the issue.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:05:30 AM PST

  •  I Like the Name (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, Oaktown Girl

    Washington Faggots for a sports team. Who is with me on this?

    Seriously, this is a really interesting discussion. Why would people hold onto a name -- a word merely -- that they understand hurts other people? What is their motivation? I think that there are certain non-Native people who don't want to surrender their power over language and who resist out of spite.

    A woman that I work with recently posted in our internal Social media site an appeal for people to stop sending out e-mails that started with, "Hey guys ..."

    I kind of like the term "Guys" for co-workers, though we are not obviously all male. But I am willing to give up my workplace usage of the word to help someone else feel more comfortable, included and welcome.

    If I were a Washington fan, I think I would feel similarly about the name.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:33:03 AM PST

  •  Perhaps much ado? (0+ / 0-)

    What if "redskins" is not a racist moniker, but rather a reference to pro athletes' tiny, steroid shrunken testicles the size of peanuts?

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:39:03 AM PST

  •  Change the team name to "Pigskins". (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scioto, Chi, Oaktown Girl

    This has long been a nickname for footballs, and continues to be used for promotions like ESPN's "Pigskin Pick'em" contest to guess the winners of the NFL's regular season games.

    Hasn't Washington's nickname been "the Hogs" for some time now? There you go.

    And if the team thinks its an insult to be called "Pigskins"? Well, there is your teachable moment.

    •  This is exactly what I've been wanting for years!! (0+ / 0-)

      Just change the name to the "Pigskins", and you keep both common nicknames: The Hogs and The Skins. It's so easy. It's so sensible. Just do it!!!

      If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On". //"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Denis Diderot

      by Oaktown Girl on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:50:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, "the Hogs" does not refer to the (0+ / 0-)

      whole Washington team.  It was the nickname for the beloved forward line during a particular part of the first Gibbs era.  Some people might still refer to the forward line that way, but it was never the whole team.

      Pe'Sla isn't safe until the loan is paid off. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe could use some help with that.

      by Kay Observer2 on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:54:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Get the players involved (0+ / 0-)

    There are a number of (though sadly still rare)  examples of star athletes taking principled political stands.  Given that about 75% of NFL players are African American, I suspect many of them would sympathize with the desire to dump an explicitly racist team name (one would hope some of the white players would too), if its negative connotations were brought to their attention.

  •  I don't see why Dan Snyder doesn't change it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, NMRed

    It's needlessly and gratuitously offensive, and this moment—when the team is on the way up—is the time when the people pissed off about the change could be turned around by a winning team.

    And he'd make buckets and buckets of money because all the superfans would buy new jerseys, hats, jackets, hoodies, t-shirts, car flags, etc. with the new team name on them.

    I personally wouldn't mind seeing them change their colors at the same time to the more bright red being used by the Nationals, Wizards, and Caps, and give DC a unified sports identity... but that's part of my larger dream of seeing the Racing Presidents show up at every DC sporting event.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:58:33 AM PST

    •  I had hoped Synder would change the name (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken

      when he bought the team. But it didn't happen, and, finally, regretfully, I renounced my allegiance to the DC team.

      Being raised in the area, I was brought up in the age of Sonny in DC and Johnny U up in Baltimore.

      I could sing all the verses of the DC fight song.

      But I know how long it took to get the DC team to accept integration, and other marks against its 'image'. I figured once Jack Kent Cook died the new owner would spend a year getting fans to nominate new names, create a new logo, and somehow  make a new set of verses that would scan with the old tune. (We always loved the fan-band, and an old buddy from high school played trumpet in the band for several years).

      When that didn't happen, and Snyder did everything he could to screw over the fans, I just gave up.

      Just one funny story from my first years of living in New Mexico:

      I was talking to a Navajo man at a party one night, the Monday night game was DC vs. Dallas. I asked why I was always seeing cars driven by the local Native Americans with DC bumper stickers on their wheels. He replied "What, you think we'd root for the Cowboys?"

      Couldn't argue with that.

      But the only DC team apparel I've kept is a jersey with the number 9 on it, for Sonny.

      "We have two parties in this country right now. One party is a center-right party that believes that it is unseemly to let old people die in the streets. And the other party is insane." Charles P Pierce

      by NMRed on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:03:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish they'd just change the names. I'm so tired (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    of this coming up every once in awhile.  

    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    by thestructureguy on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:02:38 AM PST

  •  I remember once hearing the team called (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kat herder

    the Washington Racial Slurs.  LOL

    ...and who, disguised as rambler american, mild mannered commenter for a great Democratic web blog, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.

    by rambler american on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:02:45 AM PST

    •  there was a DC sportswriter who suggested (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rambler american

      "The Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Peoples" (even after 350 years there were still a few NA people living in the area) which I thought was wicked funny, even though it wouldn't fit in the old fight song.

      "We have two parties in this country right now. One party is a center-right party that believes that it is unseemly to let old people die in the streets. And the other party is insane." Charles P Pierce

      by NMRed on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:06:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  it wouldn't fit in the old fight song (0+ / 0-)

        or on the backs of the uniforms, but I like it nevertheless.

        ...and who, disguised as rambler american, mild mannered commenter for a great Democratic web blog, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.

        by rambler american on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:10:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why not re-name them the Nationals? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    We were fine with two St. Louis Cardinals for decades, so it's not without precedent.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:10:56 AM PST

  •  Oklahoma Sooners (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    Think about it, what exactly does the name "Sooners" commemorate?

    And why is there no effort afoot to change it to something else? I say it's because Oklahoma has a lot more clout in the NCAA than North Dakota, Miami (Ohio), William and Mary, and Dartmouth.

  •  Yup, tired of the Cleveland baseball team name (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, PrahaPartizan

    Also.

    Tipped & rec'ed

  •  lived here 15 yrs, still don't have an NFL team (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NMRed, northerntier, a2nite

    The day they change the nickname is the day I will have an NFL team to call my own, to root for, to buy and wear schwag - all of that. Until then, it's just an embarrassment, I cannot utter the name of this team. It's a total abomination.  I really hope this new bit of momentum rolls itself into a snowball that pushes The Danny's house into the Potomac and gives him a wake up call.

    •  Yep, me too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NMRed

      I've been in DC for five years, but I'm rooting for the Ravens (not buying any of their stuff, just rooting for them to win) until the local professional football team changes their name.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:34:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Washington Insiders (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    asdf

    The Republican party has become the politburo of capitalism. It seeks to direct the direction this country is going NO MATTER WHAT WE THE PEOPLE THINK.

    by tarminian on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:59:47 AM PST

  •  Maybe the name could stay the same (0+ / 0-)

    and the mascot could just change.

    Like maybe this guy

  •  Senators - Twins (0+ / 0-)
    And I note that there are precedents for professional sports franchises changing their nicknames because they were offensive.
    I always thought it was changed because it wasn't really appropriate, I didn't realize that Minnesotans considered the "S" word to be offensive.  That was decades before Norm Coleman, and Senator Bachmann hasn't even been elected yet.

    When the Bullets changed their name I heard a comedian explain "The Washington Bullets announced they will be changing their name because they wanted a moniker that seemed less violent.  So from now on they will be known as simply 'the Bullets'".

    Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary. Does it improve the silence. (Courtesy Kos)

    by Scioto on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:15:47 AM PST

  •  The 'Skins are my favorite team.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    .....but the name really needs to change; it's outdated and racist. Plus, if the DC area could get rid of Snyder as the owner, that would be a wonderful thing, too.

    •  I wish the NFL hadn't barred... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wednesday Bizzare, metal prophet

      ...future ownership arrangements like the one the Green Bay Packers have, where the team is owned by the fans who purchase "shares," but whose share value never increases. That's one team that will never leave Green Bay and never prioritize making profits over putting a winning team on the field.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:27:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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