October 23rd, 2013
03:35 PM ET

Washington Redskins: Racist or a sporting exception?

In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in American sport when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first African American to play in the formerly all-white baseball league.

Seven decades later, even though the racial tensions are nowhere near what they were when Robinson made history, one of the United States’ most storied sporting franchises still clings to a term many critics argue supports racial intolerance.

The NFL’s Washington Redskins have carried their name since 1933, when they were the Boston Redskins. When the football team moved to the capital four years later, they brought the name with them and have held it ever since.

“Redskin” is a slang term used to describe Native Americans, and is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a term “usually offensive” except when in reference to Washington’s NFL franchise.

Recently, the Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder sent a letter to the team’s season ticket-holders and the “Washington Redskins Nation” defending the decision to continue using the name.

Throughout Snyder’s letter, the owner references a number of studies that show Native Americans don’t find the team’s name offensive, and that the general public doesn’t think it should be changed. Snyder’s letter points to the team’s origins with Native Americans and its respect for their traditions.

Read: College football faces up to professionalism

But the fight over Native American mascots doesn’t stop there. Teams in Major League Baseball, and primarily collegiate athletics programs, have also received backlash for their nicknames.

Two MLB clubs, the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians, changed their logos to become less offensive to Native Americans. The Braves replaced their mascot “Chief Noc-A-Homa” - though they still use the “Screaming Indian” on some of their uniforms and apparel. This year, the Indians replaced their logo of “Chief Wahoo” on team caps and batting helmets, but it still appears on uniform sleeves.

In 2005, the NCAA cited 31 colleges for having mascots that use potentially offensive imagery. Since then, all universities previously using the nickname Indians have been forced to change their mascot. Other nicknames like Savages, Braves, Redmen and anything referring to a specific tribe, like Seminoles or Sioux, are also included in the citation.

Some schools chose to make a complete change and go a different direction. For instance, Arkansas State changed from the Indians to the Red Wolves. Other major universities like the University of Illinois’ mascot, the Illini, has only had its image changed, since the mascot refers to the state as a whole.

Overall, 15 teams have changed their mascot to be more sensitive to Native Americans, but there are four teams who fall into this category, but haven’t changed anything. The Florida State Seminoles, Central Michigan Chippewas, Utah Utes and Mississippi College Choctaws have all been granted waivers to keep their nicknames after the respective tribes gave their support to the schools.

So if teams with nicknames that aren’t deemed racist have made the change, how has Washington been able to maintain its much more controversial title and mascot?

While legal action has been taken to force the team to change its nickname, the responsibility lies with the team’s owner. Snyder claims the franchise’s continued use of the name is a matter of tradition and pride, while continually ignoring the fact that it can be taken as a racist term.

Regardless of what polls and the general public say, refusing to admit that the team’s name is a problem negates what Jackie Robinson did so many years ago to take racism out of sports as a whole.

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soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Erlo

    'For instance, Arkansas State changed from the Indians to the Red Wolves. ' I think this is actually MORE racist. Let's not call them Indians, let's call them red wolves.

    October 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Reply
    • bobhamiltonchicago

      After raping and murdering most of the Indians in this country and then totally wiping out most evidence of their existence here on Earth, it's a bit too late to try to be nice to them now. It would be more educational for our children for us to display what the newspapers used to refer to them as; Savages. The Washington Savages. Better?

      October 26, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Reply
      • Tom L.

        Oh, puhleeze try to find something useful to talk about it. This entire conversation is so stupid that only foolish people like me will condescend to take any part in it. It's that annual "Let's sell a few more papers" time at the Washington Post. If they sell any more papers, I hope some offended tribe will come along and put those extra papers into the publisher's special place where the sun does not shine. Maybe we could start a war, or something.

        November 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
      • formcritic

        Hyperbole does not help these discussions:

        "After raping and murdering most of the Indians in this country and then totally wiping out most evidence of their existence here on Earth,"

        This is a foolish statement that does not help the discussion.

        November 6, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
      • esku

        I am completely get along with you. how in the world could any body believe that this kind of outrageous things
        happening in the US!! it's really embarrassing for the for the country that's preaching about world peace, democracy, both civil and human right. Red Indians has been humiliated, discriminated, and demoralized in their own country since..... I wonder why red skins owner still arguing and kept silent about it!!! as far as we are
        concerned, I think we must resolve this nasty word from our earth.

        November 9, 2013 at 2:32 am |
    • Senssible

      @ erlo. are you all there? their logo is comprised of an actual WOLF and it is RED. how is that more racist? how can you be racist against an animal. anyway, unless you are a native indian, your opinion really does not matter one bit, it is irrelevant and you have no right to be part of the conversation. ask the native community how they feel about it....not you!

      October 27, 2013 at 7:41 am | Reply
      • formcritic

        History and culture belong to all of us. They are not the private property of any one group.

        November 6, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • Ginko

      The entirety of the reason this started is because of the stupidity and simple-mindedness of European settlers/colonists.
      These people mistook the pigment of Native American skin as red because of the tribal war paint they wore. Because our ancestral descents were so blunt and stubborn they continued to call this country's first explorers "redskins" or "man of red skin" as well as "Indian" which shouldn't be tolerated either considering India is at an irrelevant place in this controversy. The dictionary clearly states that it is a racial slur, so why should a sports team be granted the undying gratitude of existing in an "OK" manner, there is no exception.

      November 3, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • Bo

      I've lived and played music, around the Columbus, Ohio area, for over 40 years. There is a club, on North High Street, just block's from Ohio State University campus, that I have played music in many times. It's called "The Redmans Club". That's right. REDMANS. It is a privately owned club for the mid-ohio Native Americans. These people are proud of their heritage and what their name stands for. Why don't you little troublemaking group's, get off of your HIGH HORSE, (HIGH HORSE. did I say something wrong?), and act like a real American. Have a little respect for your fellow man, whether he be white, black, red, purple, green. What the hell difference does it make, as long as you love one another, instead of trying to find something to bitch about. Shut up and enjoy life. You're only on this old earth for a few short years.

      January 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Reply
  2. David

    Why not leave Jackie Robinson out of this argument he wasn't a football player and he obviously isn't Native American.

    October 23, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Reply
    • Ginko

      Including Jackie Robinson is highly important and since you fail to realize, let me explain. Jackie Robinson attempted to end the segregation in sport-related activities. He wanted to allow the acceptance of all people but African Americans most importantly. This is exactly what is occurring in this argument. Let me make this simple for your simplistic 40 year old mind. The Washington Redskins team name and insignia are offensive to Native Americans (Indians to you) they want to be rid of this because once again this already occurred "way back when" with Jackie Robinson. If you don't understand get an education or use Google for around an hour, that should defog your point of view.

      November 3, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Reply
      • Jude

        Nonsense! Nothing to do with Robinson and nothing RACIST about the name of team. I don't see a coalition of tribes stressing about this, only a bunch of white liberals idiots feeling the guilt of their ancestors atrocious treatment to non-whites, coming out the woods to create more division with you so-called "enlightment" of other nations. Typical white amerikans behavior. Get a life or better yet, fix your "Trailer Parks" first and then worry about "other" people!!!!!!!!

        November 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
      • John O

        "Including Jackie Robinson is highly important and since you fail to realize, let me explain. Jackie Robinson attempted to end the segregation in sport-related activities." That's great Ginko, except that is not what this issue is about here. Actually the issues are completely different. Apples and oranges. Black and other monority players participate in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL.And if Jackie had been signed by the Boston Braves in 1947....I'm sure he would have gone there to play. Just like Hank Aaron went to the Miolaukee Braves to play. Because his mission was to break the color barrier in baseball, not change the name of a team. You should reason out the logic, or lack thereof, in your statements before you offer them up as the be all end all of a discussion.

        November 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • formcritic

      Robinson is also a bad example because the NFL was integrated well before Robinson played major league baseball.

      November 6, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  3. David

    This is absurd ... next peta will be crying about the Broncos team name because it encourages animal hate.

    October 23, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Reply
    • Senssible

      David you are white. You are not a native therefore your opinion does not matter. it is not absurd – you are uneducated, closed minded, and mostly absurd.

      October 27, 2013 at 7:42 am | Reply
      • John

        You are wrong. The word came from Native Americans and was never meant to be derogartory. Look up and read the hisotry of the word. A very good paper was written by Ives Goddard, a linguist with the Smithsonian, it gives a much more detailed history of the word.

        October 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
      • Ashley's Ashley

        Ok saying that you are white and don't have an opinion is so rude. Everybody has the right to opinions, and expressing them is ok, but you don't have to be so rude about. Guess what! Saying your not entitled to an opinion IS N OPINION!!!!

        November 1, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
      • Tom L.

        North America has no "native Americans" on it. Some people got here earlier than others, but we all came from somewhere else. Who cares?

        November 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • SkullnRose

        Get real...who cares...maybe 10% of Indians...when more than that don't care or support it. Drop the subject already. It's all media driven anyway.

        November 6, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
      • Jerry D

        What's funny is that almost all of the people offended by the name are white as well, so I guess their opinions don't matter either, right? Actually polls indicate overwhelming numbers of native americans do not find the term offensive. Does their opinion matter? Or do the only opinions that matter are the ones that agree with you?

        November 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
      • Wolflady

        Everyone can have an opinion and I am Native so there. I for one as a Redskin is not offended, I think some Indian affairs rep (maybe Indian, may not be) got the Indians riled up over this, that's what the agents are good at. This team has had that name since 1933 so why have an issue now. I think this country is becoming too politically correct and truth you can't make up for what was done to ancestors by changing team names, get over it and move on.

        February 11, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
  4. Charles Stinger

    The owner of the Washington Franchise is Daniel Snyder, not Bill.

    October 23, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Reply
    • garymorleyCNN

      Thank you. We have corrected that.

      October 23, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  5. Ian B

    Just replace any politically incorrect term with "White Trash" and then it won't be considered racist.

    October 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  6. Ahem...about that lost colony?

    In a good season, the Washington Redskins symbolize power, aggression, strength, and an indomitable spirit. It is a positive and sanitized portrayal of the Native Americans. There is no dishonor to Native Americans intended towards Native Americans. The controversy should end there.

    However, if we are determined to dig further and make a mountain out of the molehill. The Native Americans should not be accorded victim status and the guilt-inducing political power that comes from such a status. Their ancestors fought, but did not prevail. Tribes like the Iroquois, Seminoles, Apaches, and Cherokee were powerful warriors. The Cherokee wiped out several tribes when they consolidated their power in pre-colonial Georgia. In addition, the Native Americans were likely responsible for the demise of the Lost Colony in North Carolina. Native Americans also attacked Jamestown Settlers who had arrived with high hopes of peacefully trading arrangements. They were also responsible the Jamestown Massacre of 1619. Finally, Native Americans have never apologized for scalping and mutilating the bodies of those they killed in battle. They used terror tactics and deliberately targeted farm families including innocent women and children. This behavior has long been against the rules of war. Any unflinching history of the Native Americans would have to acknowledge that they were clearly America's first war criminals.

    Let's not give into political correctness or perpetuate the myth of the "Noble Savage." There are plenty of victims in history on all sides of conflicts. There are worse fates than being remembered on the side of a football helmet.

    October 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      Rules of war? who defined those rules? Were they formally informed of the rules and regulations for armed conflicts? Did they then agree? If they dont agree is that rule book then valid? Just because one boy in the sandpit comes up with a rule doesn't mean everyone has to agree.....
      The Europeans came in to some else's backyard and wanted to do their own thing – the Native people of the land had other ideas.....(and their own traditions)
      The Native people have a right to be listened to and their culture respected. any other reactions would be no different to me walking into your house and saying "I'm taking your house I have a bigger gun and therefore you must listen to me! Oh and by the way i might rape your wife and daughter while I'm here...... and don't whinge and cry about it afterwards" How would you feel about that? Honestly answer that one....

      October 25, 2013 at 9:53 am | Reply
      • ryan

        you're just a cowboys fan...

        November 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  7. Kyne

    Own the name, celebrate it as tradition, but most importantly carry it with respect, act respectfully in this name and emphasize at every step and turn that in no way it is meant or to be used as an insult. If the name is associated with tolerant, respectful people it will lose its effectiveness as insult. A ban, on the other side, would just strengthen its value and usefulness as an insult and racial term.

    October 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Reply
    • Lifelongskinsfan

      You make a very good point. I am a Redskins fan, and there is absolutely nothing in my mind that denigrates native Americans as I exercise and enjoy being a fan. Your point is right-on: by honoring the name redskins, we change the meaning from PERHAPS one of disrespect to DEFINITIVELY one of respect, tradition, honor and (unfortunately) lost glory.

      To change the name is to give up; to use it in respect it to honor. I see no problem here.

      October 25, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  8. Not PC

    Why should the team honor Native Americans? They scalped people, mutilated bodies, and targeted innocent women and children?

    October 23, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Reply
    • Dawn

      that was stupid...white people did just as much to them and took their land... we all hurt each other through the years...racism needs to stop and stop bring up the hurt to keep it going

      October 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • buckyg1

      Ever hear of Small pox, The U.S. Cavalry, Slaughtering of the buffalo herds, Invasion of the rail ways, Being forced off their home grounds and sent to Oklahoma. Told that they couldn't wear their own clothes. Not to mention that No American treaty was ever honored by the American government. How would you like that to happen to you? Think you might be looking for some pay back?

      October 25, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Reply
      • Fubar

        The myth about the small pox blankets has been thoroughly debunked. To say the U.S. government has never respected treaties is absurd. There would be no reservations if that was the case. They would shut down the casinos, which is what is paying for all this faux outrage anyways. I feel that there has to be some financial upside for the Oneida tribe pushing this, either to advertise casinos or sell crafts, unless they are just bitter New York Giants fans.

        If you are a fan of the Braves, Chiefs, or Indians you need to support the skins on this. Its a slippery slope and they have already said their sights will be trained on them next.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  9. John Mumaw

    Are team names such as the Vikings and Fighting Irish offensive? I've never heard so. Why are Native American team names different then? Team mascots are supposed to be strong, tough, and admirable. Getting a team named for one is a compliment, or should be seen so.

    October 23, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Reply
    • Miss K

      It is actually very different. What people don't realize is that the term itself is offensive. You could call an Irish person "Irish" to their face and it would be alright. Would you call a Native American person a "redskin"? An African American person a "blackskin" or "blackface"? An Asian person "yellow"? Obviously not. That is the problem. This is why a lot of the team names that are actually named after a tribe, such as "Chippewas", are not as offensive and the tribe has actually given them permission to use it. But the "screaming Indian" and "redskins" are based on negative stereotypes. It's really not a big deal to just change it to something less offensive. If you're a real fan what does the name matter?

      October 24, 2013 at 4:32 am | Reply
      • John

        Sorry but you are wrong, the term itself is not offensive and was never meant to be. Please do some research and educate yourself on the history and orgins of the word. Ives Goddard wrote a very good paper detailing the word, Redskin and where it came from.

        October 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • MN

      I suspect that names like "Vikings", "Fighting Irish", "Utes", "Seminoles", and "Chippewas" are offensive when their respective teams are under .500.

      October 25, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Reply
  10. DC

    What's pathetic about the media's obsession with a football team's name is it takes away from REAL racism going on in peoples everyday lives

    October 23, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  11. meifumado

    People need to grow a pair. stop acting like children who never heard of "sticks and stones".

    This political correctness has gone to far.

    I'm still upset that St. Johns changed the name Redmen to red storm.

    October 23, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  12. Martin

    Absolutely biased (towards racism) and not open minded like a journalist should be. This article is the epitomy of what this nation has been moving towards for some time and that is, negating the feelings of the many for the feelings of the few. There is not a national outcry for the Washington Redskins to change their name. It is a small sector of liberal cry babies that have caught the ear of journalists that feel that if they aid in the fight against a word, and that word is "racism", they are on the "Right" or correct side of the discussion. I do believe a discussion and/or talks should take place due to the the small sectors claims of racism, however those talks/discussions have taken place, numerous times and still have not provided the evidence that the name "Washington Redskins" is offensive. Individuals behind this should utilize their efforts to doing something that would benefit the population, especially those of native decent, and that is by working towards utilizing the monies taken in by the Native Casino's and utilizing it in a National way to provide housing, food, education and the well being of ALL of the native tribes throught the U.S. Fighting for a name change because less than 0.5% of all native americans are offended by the name Washington Redskins is absolutely a waste of effort.

    October 23, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  13. rad666

    Many of the till critics who argue the term supports racial intolerance. Have no idea where the term came from or what it means, they're just so busy being offended by everything they can't see the forest for the trees

    October 23, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Reply
  14. Darren

    Let's remove the real offensive name... Washington

    October 23, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Reply
    • Rick

      I agree ..... the real offensive name is "Washington". Anyone and Everything associated with Washington should be ashamed at this time in our history!

      October 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  15. Oklahoma

    Given that argument, then you should be in support of changing the name of the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is based on Choctaw Indian words which translate as "red people"

    October 24, 2013 at 1:07 am | Reply
  16. Dawn

    I DONT think they should change it...people just need stop taking everything in a bad way...ifs it been that long ...why get upset now...If you need complain about something and make it sound sooooo bad then get hobby and dont watch it ...if it bothers you so much...my husband he is part indian we think so stupid to complain about it...its just a name and wasnt named that to hurt people

    October 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  17. Neal

    If you have a strong opinion based on this issue, please put this same emotional energy into doing something other than being a total moron.

    October 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  18. Fan

    I think the Washington team is celebrating Indians, not criticizing them. I don't get the problem.

    October 25, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  19. Nathan

    My favorite part is the video of a discussion of what native Americans do or do not find offensive that didn't have a single Native American in it. Kudos!

    October 25, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Reply
    • Jess

      Exactly!

      November 8, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Reply
  20. Mac M

    How come there is never much mentioned about their past? The founder, George Preston Marshall, was widely considered a racist and was the very last to integrate black players and only did so 13 years after the first team because the federal government threatened to void their lease on the stadium. People want to talk about tradition of the name, but it dates back to their owners' tradition of racism...but nobody talks about that.

    October 26, 2013 at 6:48 am | Reply
    • Redskins Fan

      Why is it every time this is brought up people focus only on Marshal. Don't forget that Jack Kent Cooke bought the team and went out of his way to get the best players possible regardless of race. For instance Doug Williams was the first black quarter back to win the superbowl.

      October 30, 2013 at 11:15 am | Reply
  21. Lee Fabian

    Watch any old western. When they use the term "Redskin", it's not a compliment.

    October 27, 2013 at 1:48 am | Reply
    • Fubar

      Watch any old western, the indians are all white actors

      November 8, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • Jerry D

      Really?? I mean, seriously, really? You want to use old westerns from the 40's and 50s as your measure of reality? If you wish to be taken seriously I suggest you do some research into the origins of the word, and the fact that many tribes actually still use the term to refer to themselves today.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Reply
  22. Senssible

    Why are white, black and hispanic people having this conversation. you have no right and your opinion is 100% irrelevant in this matter. if the native american community finds the "redskins" offensive, then it is. now stop being greedy pigs and grow up.

    October 27, 2013 at 7:37 am | Reply
    • fanforever*

      From what I underatand, it is a small group of Onieda (sp?) people and not all Native Americans. By your statement then the politicians, sportscasters, journalists etc supporting them should also butt out. On that I agree. I find a small group of people trying to force an organization to change their name offensive. HTTR

      October 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • Redskins Fan

      Washington DC is a predominately black and Hispanic area. Many of whom live in level of poverty and squalor far below that of the few reservations I have visited in my lifetime. If the name is to change it won't be Snyder footing the bill, it will be the fans. They have as much right to voice an opinion as anyone because it will affect them directly.

      October 30, 2013 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • Billy

      No one else has the right to say anything, only Native Americans? Well by that logic, I find your entire ideology racist, and by your logic then your opinion is worthless and it is. Grow up yourself

      October 31, 2013 at 12:06 am | Reply
    • Jerry D

      Cool. Then the debate is over as all polls taken on the subject show overwhelming majorities of native americans do not find the term offensive. Thank you for telling this author and Bob Costas to shut up

      November 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Reply
  23. James Rustle

    Never mind that most Native Americans are fine with the name (and name their own sports teams the same name), can't let that get in the way of some good old fashioned Liberal faux outrage on behalf of somebody else.

    October 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  24. Bradford

    What about the Robstown High School "Cottonpickers"?

    October 29, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  25. david

    Tell me exactly who is saying that the name redskin is offensive? is it a massive group of native american people who are demanding that the name be changed or is it a very small guilt ridden group of liberals who are out to try and right every so called perceived wrong in America? i strongly suspect it is the latter. When i think of the name Washington Redskins i dont recall a viscious savage or think of a native american indian in a derogatory manner. I highly suspect about 400 million people think the way that i do. No i think of a football team in the nfc east that is trying to win some football games.

    October 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  26. DT

    If they changed to the name to the Darkies it might be more apt. And that's what I find funny about all this. If it had been something offensive to blacks, then it would have been immediately removed after they threw enough tantrums. On the other hand though, they think it's okay to use slurs and imagery that is offensive to NA's.

    October 29, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  27. david e

    the story talks about a guy named jackie robinson who was an AFRICAN AMERICAN. IN WHAT COUNTRY IN AFRICA WAS JACKIE ROBINSON BORN?

    October 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Reply
  28. DT

    Oh, and I should mention FSU does not have the Seminoles permission. They have the permission of one guy that represents the smaller portion of Seminoles. The larger group of Seminoles in OK have not given permission.

    October 29, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  29. Paul C

    The Washington Redskins first coach was a Native American as well as 4 of the players. A Native American did the design logo which is now the Indian on the side of the helmets. I think we're done here. Move on.

    October 29, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Reply
  30. Phil

    http://www.freep.com/article/20130603/NEWS06/306030121/indian-mascot-ban-tossed-michigan

    October 30, 2013 at 1:22 am | Reply
  31. Redskins Fan

    Last I checked Christmas has Christ in it. It's a word that can be used for cursing. Lets change that too while we are at it.

    October 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  32. way me

    The group that in wanting the change is a small tribe in central ny and their leader wants to throw his weight around. The redskins have been around for 80 years, and that should make that name grandfathered in. Nothing disrespectful here.

    October 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  33. Alice Pua

    I definitely understand the hackles that are getting raised over the name, though the lawyers and the Trademark Office involved have staunchly protected this team's right to their name. Which makes me wonder... if it is arguably appropriate to allow a white-owned team to use a racial slur in referencing their organization, and if it is arguably appropriate to allow other racial slurs as Uncle Kracker and NWA to fly under the radar, why is the USPTO consistently denying an Asian band the right to trademark their name – The Slants? Is it because they're not billionaires?

    ... or is it because they're model minorities who stereotypically get good grades and good jobs, and therefore have no right to complain about unequal treatment over the fact that hundreds of trademarks over the name have been granted to white applicants?

    ... or is it even because Asians are "easy" targets at the receiving end of more racially-based bullying than any other ethnic group in the United States:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/27/education/a-grueling-admissions-test-highlights-a-racial-divide.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&

    October 30, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Reply
  34. Brian

    Oh no! Fans of the Washington football team will have to buy all new jerseys, hats, merchandise, and car stickers! Heaven forbid! They are really the ones who should be outraged. Bottom line, it's a team name. That's it. Changing a team's name isn't going to have any other effect outside of having millions in merchandise pulled from the shelf. And fans going out to buy all new memorabilia. I feel sorry for those who hold themselves and selfish reasoning above what's right. Come to think of it, that's indictitive of Washington itself. If hillbilly football fans up in Washington want to continue with this let, let them. It's a free country. Will only put on display how stupid and disrespectful they are. Pathetic. And another thing, go Cowboys!

    October 30, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Reply
    • JoMama

      Change the name... then all of the memorabilia etc. that people have with the "Redskin" will actually become valuable since it will no longer be available...

      November 6, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  35. Rich

    Read the words of "Hail to the Redskins" and imply a racial slur anywhere therein. The words resound with bravery, courage, and victory. All admirable traits and aspirations reflected back on the First Americans. This whole name fiasco is a tempest in a teapot. #HTTR, Go Irish, and Boston Strong!

    October 31, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  36. Goby1235

    I view the Red Skins as the opposite of racism, they are celebrating Native American heritage in the US. They are showing their pride in Native Americans and not discriminating against them with this. It's a bit ridiculous to call this racism, the motive is essential in this discussion and it's obviously a positive motive and not a negative one.

    If they drop the theme/name then I'd view that as more racist than keeping it (i.e. dropping it would imply that people don't want to be associated with Native Americans and wish to brush their heritage and connections to the country under the rug).

    November 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  37. Dennis Lanham

    I am 65 years old and a longtime football fan. It never occurred to me that the Redskins was racially offensive. It was just the name of a team. Maybe we all getting a little to politically correct. There are far more important issues to solve like who has the nosiest stadium….that's important.

    November 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  38. CommonSense

    This isn't a sporting event name change. This is a coproation name change and where was this tribe when Synder was buying the team and would have made it easier to change the name. (example the Bullets became the Wizzard)

    Corporation have a brand to live upto and Syder took his hard earn money and boughtht the team for $800 mil or abouts and now it oaver $1.6 bil. If you change the formula of a beand it doesn't mean it can withstand the name change. (Example, Sperry and Bouroughhs = Unsys, it is estimated that the company lost $1.2 bil and has never come back to the company it was before)

    As I see it the tribe doesn't have to do business with the Redskin organization as protest.It would be like me going to a reservation and saying I don't like the casino name and they throwing me out. If all the tribes don't like the name the Indian nation has enough resources (casino money) to buy the organization and change the name to anything they want to.

    Parting words: I going to give you two saying I learned one from my parents and one fromt the first grade to deal with being a minority.

    If you look for prejudice in the world don't worry it will find you as fast as a lightning bold
    Sticks and stones can hurt my bones but words can't physically harm you.

    The tribe is giving to much power that doesn't have the same meaning it had a houndred years ago.

    November 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  39. Smurf

    Why not just change the name to the Washington N!@@##@s if racially offensive names are not actually offensive? After all, I never thought of the N word as offensive personally... Maybe we're all just being a bit too politically correct as Dennis suggests? Or... perhaps these words should NOT be used and we can all show a little more respect for one another. Good luck with that I suppose, we're a society of fools.

    November 5, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  40. another minority

    "Redsins" is a derogatory slur. Keep the team logos and rename the team the Washington Americans, since they are the original americans.

    November 5, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Reply
  41. Give it a rest

    I've never heard a native American complain about it. My sister's husband is native American (not as in a white person that's like 1/100th NA and claims it, I mean real native American) and the Redskins are his favorite team. No, the only people I hear complaining about this and every other ridiculous, overly PC garbage is, you guessed it, American white people. I seriously cannot wait to leave this country.

    November 6, 2013 at 6:21 am | Reply
    • Wolflady

      I agree 100% with you, I am a 1/2 breed and am not offended one bit. Guilty whites think they can make up for past by doing this, most of us aren't offended and those who are well let's just say have other issues too, so keep the name and keep on playing.

      February 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  42. majormike1

    Obama likes the Chicago Blackhawks with their Indian head logo and Tommy Hawk mascot. I guess Obama is too thick to get the tomahawk reference to Indian warriors, so I will spell it out – watch the Atlanta Braves fans do the tomahawk chop. Now do you get the picture? Chicago gets a pass from our Chicago based president.

    November 6, 2013 at 7:33 am | Reply
    • formcritic

      Blackhawk is a personal name. Like the Buffalo Bills. Like the Cleveland Browns. It is the name of a specific, historical person.

      November 6, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  43. Charles Gannon

    Is this about native Americans or is this about political agendas?

    November 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  44. From the Rez!

    I'm a proud "American Indian/Native American/First Nation, etc..." and whatever else we've been called through out the centuries since the non-Indians arrival, the bottom line I think "Washington" is offensive! Keep the REDSKINS name I'm a die hard fan and it's football season shut up!

    November 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  45. stanley thompson

    They should just change change their mascot to one of those red potatoes instead of the native american. this way they could remain the Washington Redskins without offending anybody. everybody likes redskin potatoes!

    November 6, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  46. alf564

    Hey, we all know that this is the fault of George W Bush ... just ask the president

    November 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  47. Brenda

    The Dallas Cowboys should change their name. The word Cowboy refers to the slaves that worked with the cattle ( thus the "boy).

    November 6, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Reply
    • Bumboclot

      They certainly should drop the tag "America's Team". Pretty arrogant.

      November 26, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  48. MrBigStuff

    Maybe the Cleveland Indians should change their name and Jeep should think of an alternative to Grand Cherokee, since anything with a Native American connotation is somehow offensive now.

    November 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  49. jack

    When I was a child I remember watching an NFL Films piece on the Redskins. It said that the color of the team's uniform pants was inspired by the red clay bank of the river that the native Americans used to como themselves. That is also where the name came from.

    November 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  50. WiseGuy45

    I would like to start a team called the Colorado Honkies and put geese on the helmets.

    November 6, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Reply
  51. Antavious Edison

    What rights are being violated?

    November 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  52. worknman24hours

    Change the name to the Washington Warhawks and lets get on with playing professional football.

    "Hail to the Warhawks! Fight for All D.C.!"

    November 6, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  53. Native

    I am 100% Navajo Indian from New Mexico, as are all my family and relatives. I do not and never have considered the team name as honorary or showing pride to Native American Indians. It is completely negative and derogatory in its origin. There was a time in American history when certain peoples were victimized and it was even lawful. But those times have changed and are changing and America is the better for it. So change the name.

    November 6, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  54. Jarred

    Can we quit with this ridiculous debate the name is no way offensive and is only associated with team not some hateful term. The public would never have though redskins was racist until this small minority of Indians wanted some publicity

    November 6, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  55. formcritic

    One wonders what rights are being violated here.

    Times have changed and the Redskins' name is now perceived differently.

    Should they change it to meet current styles or does tradition trump fashion? If they change their name to something else, what will they do when fashions change 50 years hence and their new name is out of style?

    But rights? Who has a "right" to a word, or to ban a word?

    Do Irish people have a "right" to complain about the Notre Dame mascot (a drunken and feisty Irishman)?

    Should Muslims picket and protest any use of the word, "Crusader?"

    Isn't the violent and foolish cliche' of a "viking" insensitive to Scandinavians? What about the millions of people oppressed, terrorized and enslaved by vikings? "Slave" is a viking word – it is the origin of the word "Slav." Consider the implications for Eastern Europeans who might decide that images of vikings are a violation of their "rights."

    The foolishness grows and grows, but it gets especially foolish when one group (and any individual member of that group) has a "right" to all uses of their history, culture and image.

    History belongs to all of us. Culture and art belong to all of us. No one has a right to claim ownership and charge admission to history.

    November 6, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  56. formcritic

    I notice no one has criticized the Redskins' helmet logo – which is a cool piece of popular art and generally flattering to Native Americans.

    November 6, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Reply
  57. kainygard

    how about the washington Natives as in Native Americans

    November 7, 2013 at 12:08 am | Reply
  58. geno marcello

    I am amazed that the Washington Redskins still wish to honor American Indian tribes with this respectful name. I have read histories of many American Indian tribes, from the Senecas to the Apaches as well as the Cherokees and Algonquins. From the compilation of reports I have read, many of the Indian tribes were savages who murdered, mutilated and raped their foes, whether they were whites, Mexicans or other Indians. I applaud the Redskins organization for continuing this name despite the horrors that many Indians inflicted on innocent women and children. It is true that the soldiers and Mexicans sometimes acted in kind, but the majority of the evidence is that they did it in response to the atrocities began by the redskins - excuse me - I meant the Indians.

    November 7, 2013 at 4:18 am | Reply
  59. Just stop...

    Those opposed to the name of Redskins want to use conjecture and misleading facts to attempt to brainwash people into thinking the name is racist. Those same people would have the n-word taken out of Huckleberry Finn–without looking at the whole picture, they come to an illogical conclusion. And those same people often leave out important facts, like how much Native Americans have contributed to the team, its logos, and most importantly its culture throughout the 80 years of the franchise's existence.

    The people who are "bothered" by this are old, fat, WHITESKINS who want something to write about and something to make them feel good about themselves. (Like the Washington Post...if you're not selling papers, you're not selling papers! Talking to you, Mike Wise...and if you don't get (that bad joke), you don't get it.)

    The most relevant point to make is that Dan Snyder, owner of the Redskins, is a true American patriot and won't change the name. Period. He's made that clear. No court could make him do it, and no court would. America's real team, the Washington Redskins, will keep their name and people can cry about it all they want. This too shall pass.

    With all the other crap going on around the world let alone in our own backyards, is this really what we have reduced ourselves to maknig a "national issue" of? Hell, even the POTUS weighed in, saying, "...if I owned the team, I would CONSIDER changing the name." Really? Thanks for your two cents, Mr. President. Now please go be the leader of the free world again while the rest of logical America laughs really really hard at all of this.

    November 8, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  60. Jess

    In my opinion the only people who should have a say in whether or not to keep this name are Native Americans. The name is either offensive to them or not and as I'm not Native American it's not my place to say.

    I think we can all agree that if the team were named The Washington N*****s it would have been changed years ago but this a prime example of how nearly every American I meet claims Native American ancestry and yet, whether they realize it or not, are pretty damned racist toward Native Americans.

    I'm a white British ex-pat and all I can tell you is that when I first heard the name, I was shocked and couldn't fathom that it hadn't been changed yet. But all of my American friends (and this includes people I would have bet money would agree with me) do not consider it offensive and think it's silly to change the name. I respectfully disagree.

    November 8, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Reply
  61. Steve Zavilon

    Um, not sure why this is even up for discussion. It is racist, there is no question about it. The name should be abolished immediately, and I'm going so far as to say the same thing I said about Cleveland and Atlanta. Your racist teams names / mascots will prevent you from winning a title for the rest of time. The universe is tired of people not getting this concept, and will punish you where it hurts most. The Washington, D.C. football club, the Cleveland and Atlanta baseball teams will never win national titles again in the history of sports until they change their names and their fans understand in their hearts why. It is just plain wrong to objectify a group of people or the memory of a slaughtered class of people in this way. It is blatantly obvioius why to anyone with have a brain and an ounce of human empathy and compassion. You want to honor people who were infected, enslaved, slaughtered, robbed, shipped to concentration camps called reservations, this is not how you do it, and you don't really want to honor them do you? You are just hung up on the fact that that's what your team has been called since you were a child. Well, get over it. This is a new era, and one where we don't do this kind of thing. And stop lying to yourselves that this was about honoring the indigenous people in the first place. Sorry, when you named a team, you picked something that sounds mighty terrifying. How about an Avalanche or a Hurricane? How about a blood-thirsty redskin who will come in the night and scalp you, your wife, and three children. These names were not chosen to honor anyone. They were chosen for the same reason the Raiders were chosen. These are bad people you don't mess with. Grow up, stop whining and sitting on the wrong side of respect for human decency, and change the names of these teams. Oh, and the universe will take your teams off the "won't stand a chance in playoffs" curse list.

    November 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  62. Bumboclot

    Respect for others is NEVER the priority in America.

    November 26, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Reply
  63. Wolflady

    I'm a half breed, I say keep the name it's been yours for 81 yrs and no one said anything till now. This is political bs. So move on and play the game.

    February 11, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Reply

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