Back in the 1980's and 90's there were protests from Native American groups surrounding arenas and stadium sites of championship finals and series when teams like the Washington Redskins were playing. These groups were protesting the use of the names by professional and collegiate teams using names of Native American or Indian nicknames like Redskins, Braves, Indians, Seminoles, and others saying the the names and uses of Native American Mascots should not be used because most of them are offensive and derogatory. While many teams kept their names, others (most of them schools) changed their names. But now most of the conversation of the topic is on the popular football team in Washington.
Many politicians, city officials, former government officials, and a growing number of columnists have called for the NFL franchise to change their name in respect to native American groups. The mayor even said that before the Redskins would consider moving back to D.C. or even have a few home games in RFK stadium they would have to consider a name change. One D.C. official wanted the Redskins to consider changing their name to the Redtails which was a name used by the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II and a name for hawks that are symbols of native American cultures.
It's clear that many people have their right to ask for the franchise to consider a name change. But will it happen and does the public want it? Redskins owner Daniel Snyder says the name will not be changed and the legions of Redskins fans are OK with it. He has recent poll numbers to back him up. A new Associated Press poll showed that four fifths of the general public don't think the name should be changed and that only 11% think it does. Only 2% didn't answer. The number of people of don't want the name to be changed was 89% in 1992 when the same question was asked compared with 79% now. The name is still popular with fans but with the number of people debating the name growing it's now a question how ho long can the franchise and others can keep names that are controversial though still popular.
So how do you resolve this issue? Well, here are some facts. Some Native Americans or those of Native American descent who have lighter skin don't find the name offensive but some with darker skin do find it offensive. The issue of proper treatment among groups can differ in-between racial and ethnic groups and when it comes to a name like the redskins which is still popular despite the controversy must find was to be resolved.
With cable news, the Internet, and social media topics of racial and social tolerance can frequently come up for discussion as they should regardless of the attention it gets on the front or second page. However, one thing that hasn't happened yet is something that could be game changer in which was the discussion could change in ones favor: the opinion of the Native American population in this country. If there is poll by native Americans who want the name changed or not it could tilt the conversation in favor of those who want a change or to people who don't want it changed like the majority of fans and Daniel Snyder.
A lot is at stake here. Many fans are afraid of losing a name that is part of the cultural heritage of the Redskins and to the National Football League. A name change would mean that all the team's history would have to be put up for auction and revenue would be lost for the franchise. But some believe it can be a positive for the team and it would be a sign that there would be a sign of progress and that it bring a new chapter to something that has been up for discussion for a long time.
There have been a lot of teams that have changed their names because they made the choice of opinion of Native American groups. Others have made the choice to keep the name because the majority of people like then name. As for the Redskin name, this is an issue that is not going away any time soon. It may take another poll of the majority of Native Americans in this country of poll numbers of fans to bring further insight into this issue. But regardless of where popular opinion is of this topic, it's a discussion worth having.