Redkins name change inevitable???

Name Change For Redskins Inevitable???

  • Alyssa Milano
  • Dan Snyder
  • Lebron James
  • Washington Redskins
By David Opperman July 6, 2020 0 Comment
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Washington Redskins name Dominates Headlines

With social issues pressed to the forefront of society, the Redskins name change is leading the headlines yet again. The Washington Redskins name continues to draw varied views and opinions while raising additional questions. Are non-Native American views overpowering the voices that matter most? Is the Redskins name change debate ignoring the deeper issue within Native American communities?  Are the sudden moral stances by Nike and celebrities truly genuine, or merely convenient?

Quick History

Although many point to the bounty for Native American’s scalps as the word’s origins, the first usage was by Native Americans. Ives Goddard “I Am Redskin” finds one of the first recorded usages in a 1769 letter to a Lieutenant Col. John Wilkins. The letter assured safe passage stating,  “If any Redskins do you harm I will be able to look out for you.” More recently a retired Chief, Robert “Two Eagles” Green, talked about “Redskin” being used during treaty negotiations with settlers.

The rewards postings for Indian scalps show the term not used as reverence but becoming a negative connotation. With that usage, it’s also fair to argue this gave it a sense of worthlessness to future Native American generations. While society needs to be careful discussing the origins, it’s vital to conduct a complete dialogue of both uses.

It’s clearly apparent that most opinions and views are representative of non-Native Americans in today’s debate. Whether the stance is for or against the Redskins name, it’s vital to account for a true majority of Native Americans. The recent polls covering what amounts to be less than .01% of the Native American population is unacceptable.

The Voices That Count

For quite some time polls have been made with varying results for the name and against the name. As questions continue to rise the debates continue to rage on and at times extremely heated. The arguments used by non-Native Americans are justified and on good faith, but is that enough? As the studies go forward there is a common theme that always appears and that’s is Native Americans supporting the name.

A simple Google search will find pages of results against the name from journalists and universities discussing its derogatory nature. Native Americans need thorough representation through these polls and articles. Approximately 6.5 million Native Americans reside in America yet these polls and articles are representative of less than .01% of the total Native American population. Have the true voices truly counted in this long-running debate over the Redskins name?

With the overwhelming articles showing negative connotations of the name, there always seems to be a group of Native Americans expressing support. While the media overwhelmingly push the derogatory view of the name, groups of Native Americans appear overshadowed. America cannot be dismissive of the feelings of generations of Native Americans who have carried a burden of offense. The true voices in this debate appear undervalued as non-Native Americans dominate the discussion.

Pressure Mounts For A Change

Recently, Nike has pulled Redskins merchandise from their web site as a movement against the name. As the corporation is certainly within their rights to do so, is that enough? They do great charity work, as that won’t be argued, but does that remove accountability for poor manufacturing conditions overseas? This discussion becomes more relevant now that they made a moral stance against the name.

As this unfolds and pressure is mounting for a change, should representatives of Nike such as Alyssa Milano and Lebron James push for Nike to change? As some comment, “what’s the point?”, understand once any person or organization takes a moral stance they must raise their own standards.

Alyssa Milano, as she leads the push for change, not too long ago she launched the Women’s Touch NFL line. She is no stranger to everyone in her political views and pushes for equality. As she certainly carries good intentions is it fair to criticize her for a line launched in 2015? Is it fair to question her intentions or is it a matter of timing during our recent social unrest? There certainly is a divide among society as she makes the recent demands for the Redskins name to change.

Dan Snyder’s Decision

Recently, the team made a statement outlining they will perform an extensive review of the team name. Of course, this is a complete 180 degree change in stance. Team owner, Dan Snyder, stated in a 2013 USA Today article, “We will never change the name!” So as the pressure appears greater than ever before, what is the sensible direction? The potential outcome may ultimately be dictated by money and non-Native American pressure which doesn’t project a fair outcome. The true voices must be heard and not being potentially overshadowed.

The potential backlash from the fan base becomes another issue Dan needs to weigh as well. The range of emotions come from generations of loyalty, those who find the name inappropriate and others not wanting to submit to this new change culture. Some may feel the high emotions from the fans shouldn’t carry weight but that is a mistake. Dedicated die-hard fans can give large parts of their existence to the team which extends past any monetary attachment.

Obviously the decision is daunting as any potential change will carry a mix of adulation and harsh backlash. Seeing the stance Nike and others have taken a name change seems far more likely than over 10 years ago. The vast majority wanting a change being non-Native American, one can only hope the appropriate voices are being heard.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of writer’s opinions for, or the push from the veteran journalists like Mike Florio and Mike Wise for change, there is only one voice that matters.  This country’s history with Native Americans is both storied and egregious as they’ve continued to see their history and culture disappear.  Some of their major issues include poor health care, and natural resources exploitation, yet the Redskins name dominates headlines. Understand the dialogue over the name must happen but don’t lose focus on the issues which truly plague Native Americans. As the discussion continues, allow the appropriate voices to take on more meaning as it’s the least America can do.



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