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The Conflict and Controversy Surrounding the NFL Football Team, the Washington Redskins

An uproar of conflict has developed concerning the name of an NFL football team, the Washington Redskins. Although the dispute has less publicly been ongoing for years, the problem has been brought into light by a Native American activist. The activist demanded that the team lose the right to their name due to its racial slur towards Native Americans. However, Dan Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, has bluntly refused to change the name. In the 21st century, so many changes have been made in society and the recognition of discriminatory activity is certainly part of that change.

The Washington Redskins team name could be considered offensive towards Native Americans. Not only the name, but the logo clearly correlates to Native Americans. Some say that the term “redskin” is as equally derogatory as the N-word towards blacks. Both terms have histories that aren’t meant for nonchalant conversation. Unfortunately, the N-word is used almost as an everyday greeting. The mistake is that the vernacular of everyday people is casually switched without thought. Redskin should not be subjected to the same mistake and implemented into communication between people because there would be no progression of society through the ages. Yet, what draws the line of offensive and inoffensive when these types of problems arise?

Though it is blatant that the football team doesn’t have the best name picked out for them, a possible factor could be that there is an over exaggeration over the whole debacle. Canucks, the Vancouver hockey team; that’s a nickname. So are Canadians.[1] Other teams haven’t changed their names even though it does mock a certain group of people. A small percentage fighting against a whole population might not be enough to replace how things have been for years. For example, the Yankees aren’t going to change their name because someone says that it’s offensive and others might disagree with them. However, the term “redskins” could be a representation of bravery and strength in the eyes of certain others. There’s a border for what is accepted and what isn’t accepted, but no establishment of the tie breaker is said. Thus, confusion is constantly occurring, which creates all of these controversies.

The Washington Redskins shouldn’t have to change their team name that has been present for at least 80 years. If there were no problems with it then, why are people demanding that a football team revise their prized name. The word, redskins, doesn’t correlate to the skill that the team shows through their games. Dan Snyder stated in a letter to the fans that the name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor… It is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect…[2] Over the years, the team has proven themselves worthy of being connected to Native Americans in a positive way. The fact that redskins is a derogatory term is true, but it has grown to be something more than what it started out as. Therefore, the Washington Redskins shouldn’t change their name.

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