Native American Nicknames: Should The Redskins Change Their Name?
In these times, being politically correct matters to some people. To others, they could care less. How do we determine what’s right and wrong? We know some things are just wrong, like murder and other crimes. But, what’s in a name?
There are nicknames for sports teams out there that some people find offensive, and then there are those people who don’t find it offensive at all. The NCAA has been cracking down on Native American nicknames that they deem offensive and they use a double standard by doing it.
I’m going to comment on what I believe is a double standard by the NCAA. I am also going to give the pros and cons of why the Washington Redskins should or shouldn’t change their nickname. I am not writing this article to be offensive. I’m writing it because in my mind I know the true meaning of the nickname.
History of the Washington Redskins
The Boston Braves were founded in 1932 and then changed their name to the Redskins in 1933. Four years later, they moved to Washington, D.C.
The Washington Redskins have a deep history. They’ve won 13 division championships, made the playoffs 23 times, played in five Super Bowls and winning a total of five NFL Championships; including three Super Bowls.
They have had some great players Sammy Baugh, Sonny Jurgensen, Charley Taylor, Russ Grimm, Darrell Green and John Riggins. The Redskins have also had some great coaches like Joe Gibbs, George Allen and Vince Lombardi.
For 80 years now, they have been known as the Redskins. So, why change it now?
In 1997, the Washington Bullets of the NBA changed their nickname to the Wizards due to the owner feeling uncomfortable using the Bullets name due to gun violence in the District. But that didn’t mean that the crime rate dropped because of the name change.
In 1999 the NAACP called for an end to the use of Native American names, images, and mascots. They claimed that the use of these nicknames is insensitive and they violate anti-discrimination laws.
NCAA use and rule changes
Some schools in the NCAA have chosen to change their names on their own, like Marquette University who changed it from Warriors to the Golden Eagles and St. John’s University from Redmen to Red Storm, Miami University of Ohio changed their nickname from Redskins to Redhawks.
The University of Iowa has refused to schedule teams outside of the Big Ten with Native American mascots. I find this ironic because Iowa’s nickname is the Hawkeyes, which has native origins. However the teams used a hawk mascot rather than a Native American.
One schools name that was named hostel was the Central Michigan University Chippewas. However, the name was removed from the list because the Chippewa Tribal Nation supported the nickname.
In 2005 the NCAA asked a total of 31 schools to re-evaluate their nicknames. The Arkansas State Indians changed their name to the Red Wolves and the University of Louisiana at Monroe changed theirs from Indians to Warhawks.