Tomahawk racism out of sports teams! A fight over whether some names of sports teams are racist and should be forced to change them. The Washington Redskins is the main target because it is by far the most racist in the eyes of Native Americans. One of the many arguments is if the term “Redskins” is offensive. In the Webster dictionary it is usually an offensive term. In one case, a Cleveland Indians fan started a conversation on the racism with Chief Wahoo on Twitter. The fan tweeted a picture of a cut out of Chief Wahoo.
Many Native American tribes have tried suing the sport associations in order to put an end to the racism throughout the leagues and the world. A lady that works at the Washington Redskins postal office states that the name should not be changed unless, the marketing goes down because of the offense that is accumulated from the whole debate and arguments. In the end, all sports teams including, high school, college and professional, should be banned from using offensive and racist mascots. On the other hand, some state that it is not about the name but, the love of the game that counts.
Lanny Davis, Washington Redskins’ attorney, stated, “The name Washington Redskins’ is 80 years old, it is our history and legacy and tradition. We Redskins fans sing ‘hail to the Redskins’ every Sunday as a word of honor not disparagement” (nation. time. com). There was a poll at, “Annenberg Public Policy Center”, on whether the name “Redskins” is offensive, the poll conducted, included Native Americans. The poll had a result that stated, ninety percent of Native Americans did not believe that the name was offensive. There was then a telephone poll held.
The poll stated that four in five Americans did not believe the sport name was offensive. The numbers given sum it up in the eyes of the beholder. In the eyes of the ones who are against changing the names of sports teams, the results are helping their case. There is not just only a debate on the National Football League. There is a debate on other professional sport associations like, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball teams. There is a big debate on a certain team in each association. The big one in the hockey league is the Chicago Blackhawks. When it comes to baseball, there are two big targets.
The targets are the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians. The teams and their owners state that it is out of honor, not disrespect. Sport teams and their owners do not believe it is offensive to represent their history in the way they do. The way some athletes see it, is they are putting their bodies on the line to help represent the history of the Native Americans. The National Collegiate Athletic Association also has problems with complaints and arguments about their school names. One would say that the Florida State Seminoles are the biggest controversy in college sports.
The former Redskins coach, Joe Gibbs states, “Everything I’ve known or been apart of has been Redskins. I never, ever thought of it as a negative; it’s all been positive…. It would be wrong to change the team’s names. ” (washingtonpost. com) In the mind of the businessman the name or term “Redskins” is a sign of showing honor to Native American societies. To go back to the head of the snake, Washington Redskins, some scholars suggested that the name was not intended to be racist, but to resemble either the color of the Natives or the paint schemes that the tribes use.
Now, with new evidence, Dan Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, states that the name was chosen in 1933 to honor Native Americans in general and as well as; a coach and four players that were Native Americans. Then, in 1971, coach George Allen consulted with the Red Cloud Indian Fund on the Pine Ridge Reservation when actually designing the logo. “This name was never meant to insult anyone, but to honor their history”, Mr. Snyder stated. In 2014, “Outside the Line”, a broadcast conducted by Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) took a poll that now states seventy-one percent of people think the name, “should not” be changed.
The percentage of the people that thought it was offensive have dropped two percent since the last survey was taken. In another ESPN survey, fifty-four percent of the one-thousand and nineteen adults surveyed believed the Redskins are “very” or “somewhat” keep their name as is. Dan Snyder states, “I will NEVER change the name…. You can use capital letters. ” Snyder is determined to hold onto the tradition and not change the name. “Our past isn’t just where we came from – it’s who we are”, Snyder writes in a letter to his fans (Usatoday. om). The team’s fight song, “Hail to the Redskins”, urged players to “fight for old Dixie” which means “a shameless appeal to the Southern fan base the football club tried to cultivate during the Jim Crow years” (usatoday. com). Some say that Snyder is waiting for a bidding between the Native American tribes to get him to change the name. However, their claims have nothing compared to what the Natives Americans are getting. The Native Americans are getting support from anywhere from President Obama to sales people and ordinary people.
One claim, which supports to ban racial names from sports teams is, the term “redskins” which is typically interpreted as offensive. If one is to look up a definition for “redskins”, it would state that it is offensive. Some state that the name Redskins is like using the “N-word”. “Redskin is like using the N-word to African American people, okay? Let’s not mince our words here. “, so says ESPN host, Michael Wilbon. These racist names are not honorable. The names are degrading to Native Americans.
Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist, states, I wouldn’t want to use a word that defines a people – living or dead, offended or not – in a most demeaning way. It’s a question not of who or how many had their feelings hurt, but whether you want to associate yourself with a word that, for whatever historical reason having nothing to do with you, carries inherently derogatory connotations. ” This is where the debate or fight began. The next claim is within the different levels of the sports conducted with Native American names. The high school level is not as big of a deal as the college or professional level but, it is still hurtful.
President Obama has offered to help over four thousand high schools redesign their schools if they were to change their names. There is a teen, girl’s, basketball team called the “Suquamish Wolf Pack”. This name is allowed because all of the members are involved in the local tribe in some way and the logo is not a person. Their logo is a wolf with the tribal markings. On to college level, one of the biggest targets was the Florida State Seminoles. Florida State University tried to get in contact with the local Seminole Tribe. By doing so, they got the permission to continue to use the Seminole name and the tribe helped design the logo.
On to the professional teams. The top three targets are the Washington Redskins, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago Blackhawks. The head of the snake is the Redskins. They believe if they get them to fall, the rest will fall also. The big debate on the Braves and Blackhawks is their logo. Over the years the braves have changed their logos to fit the Native American’s standards. The Blackhawks are currently designing a new logo with a local tribe. The fight does not end here, it even goes into federal jurisdiction. The final claim is what side the nation will take.
The Redskins have lost many trademarks from the United States Patent Office. There has been a total of six patents revoked. The United States Patent Office came to a decision in regard to the lawsuits pressed against the National Football League by Native American plaintiffs. “The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that the Redskins’ name is ‘disparaging to Native Americans,’ a violation of federal laws which prevent the use of offensive or disparaging language in a trademark” (lbtimes. com). Furthermore, the ruling will not force the Redskins to immediately change their name.
It is expected to appeal the decision and to continue to have exclusive rights for the time being. It will be a fight to the end to see who comes out on top. In conclusion, all sports teams including, high school, college and professional, should be banned from using offensive and racist mascots. The future of the names of these teams do not look very bright. Native Americans are still fighting for what they believe and will not give up until they see justice. What would one think if there was a team called the Crackers? It would not be the best feeling in the world, would it? Look at it from their perspective.