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Far-Fetched Friday: Washington Redskins Overdue for Name Change
The term Redskin is a derogative term that is historically associated with people of Native American descent. A look back at the history of the phrase will take you to the 17 and 1800s, where states were paying bounty fees for those who could prove they killed a Native American. The term "Red Skin" can be directly associated with the act of scalping a Native American for the collection of a bounty in centuries past. Some argue that the origin of the word is not derogative, but the fact that it is even up for debate should be enough reason to change the name.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Far-Fetched Friday is more wishful thinking than anything else. This Far-Fetched Friday is that after 87 years, the Washington Redskins will finally change the second half of their name.
You may not have noticed, but over the last couple of years, we have excluded the use of the name "Redskin" when speaking of the NFL on our platform. Advocates have been pushing for a name change since the 1960s, and time after time, the organization refused. Again in the early 2010s, advocacy groups came, and yet, the answer was a no.
It could be that the refusal to change the name while profiting from it is yet another example of America's historical effort to disenfranchise Native Americans. It might be a stretch but, is that not enough reason to change the name? Yet time after time, the Redskins organization has resisted change for the better.
It quickly became evident that there was no understandable reason as to why the name couldn't be changed. After all, this wouldn't be the first time an NFL team decided it was time to go in a new direction. The Houston Oilers did it when they became the Tennessee Titans in 1999, the Raiders and Rams have both went through name changes in the last five years.
You go to the NBA, and the Michael Jordan owned Charlotte Hornets changed their name from the Charlotte Bobcats to the Charlotte Hornets in 2014, and thankfully so. The New Orleans Pelicans rebranded from the Hornets to the Pelicans in 2014, and the mascot might be horrible, but they showed that it is possible.
The NFL has seemingly turned over a new tide. The statement the league released admitting they were wrong for their stance on the anthem debate was a monumental step in the right direction. The NFL has a lot of ground to make up regarding social sensitivity, but this seems to be a new era. That new tide might be all the momentum the NFL needs to have the Washington Redskins change their name.
It's just an awful look when the NFL bills a rivalry game twice a season when the Redskins play the Cowboys. An unnecessary reference to the Cowboys (America's team) versus the Redskins (Native Americans). History will tell you all you need to know about why that's an insensitive and tone-deaf approach.
Look, I get it, in a sporting world where many teams and cities have many different nicknames, it can feel like all possible names have been exhausted. You have the Butte Pirates (yes, really, that's a team), Columbia College Fighting Koalas, UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs, UMKC Kangaroos, Ducks, Canucks, Sharks, Panthers, Wildcats, etc. You name it and, chances are it already exists.
It calls for a creative solution.
That's why I will lend my expert services to Washington and give them new name ideas for FREE.
Washington Generals, they would be sharing a name with the exhibition basketball team but, with only five winning seasons in the last 20 years, they are looking a lot like an exhibition football team.
Washington Muggles, since the team insists on using an offensive name, why not meet in the middle. Stay true to the organization and use an offensive name but a mythical one. And it would partner well with the pro basketball team, the Washington Wizards. It's a win-win. I can envision it now, cheerleaders on brooms, Voldemort themed games, Harry Potter themed fight songs, this could be it.
Washington Aliens, the movie was awful, but it would be cool to have a rivalry themed Cowboys versus Aliens.
Washington Lobbyists, just in case the team wanted to go with a politically accurate name. And just like Lobbyists, the team can continue actively acting against the best interest of its fans.
Washington Bobcats, the name is awful but this could be about coming full circle to the two years of extremely average basketball Michael Jordan played for the Washington Wizards. There's a world where Michael Jordan dropped the Bobcats name so his old city could later rebrand its NFL team. Michael Jordan is the gift that keeps giving.
All jokes aside, it is time that the team changes the name. Refranchising is in the best interest of a team that has not had any real success since 1991 and, far more significantly, continues to insult an already disenfranchised section of the population.
The NFL has taken more positive steps forward in the last two weeks than they had in the two decades prior, this is another chance to get things right.
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