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Should the Washington Redskins Change Their Name?

Redskins
Patrick McDermott, Getty Images

The Washington Redskins have been in the news lately and not because rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III just had major knee surgery. They have been in the news for years because of their name, Redskins, which many say is highly offensive. The Skins have been playing football for more than 80 years and their name has never been more of an issue than now. There has been talk of the team moving back within D.C. city limits from their current home in Landover, Maryland.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray wants them back, but only if they change their name. I have never really thought of the Redskins in racial terms, but I more than understand why people are upset. I myself am actually 1/4 Native American and I’m not sure what the answer is here.

The Cleveland Indians have a logo that many find offensive, but they are still the Indians. The Atlanta Braves used to have a mascot in full headdress that actually emerged from a teepee in the stands before games. I belive the Braves have eliminated their Indian mascot and the teepee. In college, the Florida State Seminoles are famous for their tomahawk chop and accompanying chant….offensive? Probably.

Sometimes I think we make way too much of these things, but it is interesting to note that Washington D.C. sports teams have undergone many name changes over the years. The NBA Washington Bullets are now the Washington Wizards. The original baseball team was called the Senators and now they are the Washington Nationals and what about the Kansas City Chiefs? Their play is certainly offensive.

Some people find Tommy Trojan, the official mascot of the University of Southern California offensive dressed in roman attire. I say, hey, if that guy is comfortable wearing a skirt on Saturday afternoons, knock yourself out dude. I only find him offensive because I’m a UCLA fan.

It should be noted that many Native American Rights groups want some or all of these names changed. A team name should definitely never be offensive to anyone. Whatever happened to names like Otters and Icemen…the only thing offensive there is the price of a large beer.

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