when this blog was just a month or two old, we called out the Washington Ownership for allowing their brand to be a horrifically racist name. It garnered 4 comments, with the vast majority of those four being, "Yep, it's a pretty horrific, racist nickname." Compared to our 25 comments on the Stars & Bars in NASCAR, it was at once agreeable, and uncontroversial.
No one even really tries to defend "Redskin" anymore. Why don't they? It's so incredibly fucking offensive that no one can figure out a way to defend it. So why does it still exist?
I'll tell you why.
1. People who live in DC don't think that much about it. As commenter A.R.P put it: "I'm a super huge Washington Area Football Team fan, but since I've moved from the area people wincing at the name is much more noticeable." I grew up just outside DC, and you don't think about the fact that the most hateful racial word out there is being said on TV over and over again.* When you go to a game, you are briefly confronted by the truth, in the form of a half-dozen Native Americans holding signs, begging people to protest the injustice of the name. I don't recall a TV broadcaster launching an editorial, or a newspaper refusing to print the word. It's the name of the team, and that's it.
2. "Tradition". Possibly the Number 1 reason cited by fans of the team. They've been called the Redskins since they were brought into existence, and they were coached by such luminaries as George Allen, Vince Lombardi, and Joe Gibbs. There is power in a name, that echoes through generations, honest people will argue. Presumably, those honest people were up in arms when the Washington Bullets became the Washington Wizards. I was there in DC for that, and I can tell you that the biggest concern amongst Bullet fans wasn't that the team was turning their back on tradition, but they had picked a really stupid new nickname. That name change was caused by about a 2-4 year blip in DC's crime rate, when we found ourselves the most violent city in the nation. And that was worrying, but I (and people who are smarter than me) agreed that the name of the local basketball team was not the thing that made DC violent. DC fans accepted the new name, and moved on. "Bullets" was not offensive, it was never categorized as such. It was just deemed "inappropiate". That's all it took to change the name, a name that had been around for decades.
3. Owner Cowardice. Jack Kent Cooke may have been a victim/believer of tradition, and maybe he didn't give two shits about what minorities thought, but Dan Snyder has been in charge of this team for quite awhile, and he's been willing to do things that piss off any good fan, like signing professional asshole, over the hill Deion Sanders. Like forcing Mark Brunell down the throats of the DC faithful. Like making any number of personnel moves that pissed off the faithful, and yet, here, he is silent. He could right this wrong in a heartbeat, and hasn't. Why hasn't he? Because he is a fucking coward, a child, playing fantasy football with a real NFL franchise.
4. Players. Where is not just Mark Brunell, a true Christian, decrying this awful name he has had to play under? Where are Joe Theismann, John Riggins, and Art Monk? Where are they? They should be yelling from the rooftops how wrong this name is. They aren't, and the name continues.
Look, I'm not talking about Indians, or Braves, or the Fighting [Fill in the Blank]. I'm talking about Redskins. It is the most offensive nickname in sports, and if we just shake our heads and do nothing, than we are a bit guilty in allowing this name to continue.
Native Americans protesting outside the stadium for at least 20 years hasn't done shit. Maybe we, the bloggers, the underclass of the sports world, can actually bring about some change in this regard. Economically, the Redskins are healthy, that hateful racist nickname doesn't stop rich white people from attending their games.
I suggest and implore my fellow bloggers to highlight this sick nickname. Let's call The Washington Redskins what they are. The Washington Savages; the Washington Furious Injuns; The Washington Drunken Squaws. Whatever you can come up with. Let's embarass these fuckers.
The name was offensive and racist 20, 30, 50 years ago. Just because there aren't that many American Indians left on the East Coast to protest this name doesn't make it OK. This bill is past due.
Call Redskin Park at 703-726-7000, and let them know that name is no longer OK, if it ever was.
*some people may argue for other more hateful terms, like nigger, or faggot, or Kike. These words are never said during the last 10 minutes of your local news, ever. Redskin is clearly the only super offensive word said both on local TV and national TV. It is said without a hint of the prejudice it contains.