This conversation simmers below the surface every year and, from time to time, it boils to the surface. The question: why is the Washington, D.C. football team called the Redskins?
Now I don’t have a problem with it personally, and I have enough Cherokee in me to be offended if I wanted it to be. However, a lot of people do have a problem with the team’s nickname and, dare I say it… mascot. Bottom line, “redskin” is a derogatory term for a Native American. And we all know derogatory means no-no in the 21st century.
In mid-April, a poll interviewing 1,004 United States citizens via phone call found that 79 percent of Americans are totally cool with Washington fielding a team called the Redskins. Of respondents, 11 percent thought the name should be changed, eight percent were on the fence and two percent didn’t believe the question dignified a response. I’m assuming those two percent were Dallas Cowboys fans.
So, what of it? Is it time for sports teams in the United States of America to ditch the derogatory terms for team nicknames? Yeah, probably so. It has always seemed silly to me that we’re still calling Native American tribes Indians, as if they’re from India. And it’s all due to a misguided understanding of an incomplete map 500-plus years ago. We can rectify that error, can we not?
As it stands, we’ve got the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins in the NFL, Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL and Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians in MLB. While Redskins is really the only derogatory term, it also sounds the most bad-ass. Bad-assery counts for a lot in the NFL.
It doesn’t seem the ‘Skins will be changing their name anytime soon, but if they did, what what should it be?