After years of scrutiny from Native American groups, the Washington “Redskins” name controversy has reached a higher plateau than ever before. The issue of the name is offensive or not has been made more public and this year more voices are being heard.
Let me say right off the bat that out of any team name in college or professional sports, “Redskins” is by the far the most offensive name out there. If any ethnic group wants to complain about unfair treatment in this country historically, they can all take a back seat to the Native Americans. Many clueless naysayers will jokingly say the casinos are somewhat just compensation, but there are no reparations for having generations of your own people killed and your sacred land stolen from you in the name of the idiotic and laughable “Manifest Destiny”.
With all that being said, I’m not completely sold on the Washington franchise removing the name. When the layers of the onion are peeled back, a bigger issue is presented to us: Does this set a precedent for any group to claim a name is offensive?
Here’s an example: i am an Irish-American. Stereotypes associated with my ancestors include, but are not limited to, excessive drinking followed by drunken fisticuffs. Notre Dame’s mascot is the “Fighting Irish”. It’s bad enough the police van to pick up drunkards, the paddy wagon, pays unflattering homage to my Irish immigrants, but I have to watch a football team on a weekly basis mocking my heritage?
Sound absurd? Well, it is.
However, one of the major bullet points included in the grounds of offensiveness is who finds it offensive. Many people don’t find “Redskins” offensive, but ultimately that shouldn’t matter. In the long run, many Native Americans DO find it offensive, which is hurtful, hence the outrage. Just because YOU don’t find a certain something repugnant, doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t.
This is where the NFL and all sports walk a very thin line. No one wants to put a product on the field that might be mocking a certain ethnic group. No one wants a constant name-game controversy dragging in the sidelines day after day. Both issues take attention away from the product at hand, which is always bad for business.
At the same time, the name changing can certainly start a chain reaction. Large groups claims