A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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Cake or Death?

The Evolution of a Name

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I have stayed out of the Redskins name controversy because I am conflicted about it. However, after hearing Daniel Snyder give an interview, and listening to the subsequent talking heads reaction to said interview, I feel compelled to join the discussion. For once, I thought Mr. Snyder nailed it. Absolutely perfectly.

(my one quibble would be the timing. Just as training camp starts and we all start to focus on the on-the-field action instead of the name controversy seems like a poor choice to bring it back into the limelight again. But that's my only complaint)

The argument for changing the names appears to revolve around the idea that words in our society carry different meanings and connotations than they may have 50 years ago; in other words, the meaning of words evolve, and we need to be sensitive to that evolution. I agree largely with this premise, and certainly agree we need to be sensitive. I have to confess confusion at why this means we need to change the name of my favorite sports franchise, however.

Hasn't the word "Redskins" evolved beyond the pejorative nature so many detractors claim is so damaging? Go ask 100 people on the street what the first thought is when you say the word "Redskin", and I'm going to guess that it's not the racial slur those opposed to the name would have you think it is. I'm betting most people think of a fairly mediocre football team at best. The NFL is enormously successful right now, and I am willing to bet that most people identify Redskins with the NFL long before they associate it with anything else at all.

Our language has evolved. Mr. Snyder is correct when he notes that the term "Redskins" was borne from a place of honor and respect; one could certainly make the argument that term was not acceptable when the team was created; but at this point, the term is the team, and has more to do with mediocrity than with anything reflecting Native Americans. Why go backwards?

I listened to Mike and Mike this morning, and Mike Golic nailed it as well. Also listened to Dan Patrick, and for the first time in a while, I disagreed with Dan. I did think it ironic that he noted that changing the name does NOTHING at all for the people so heinously affected by the racial slur. Those people affected need real help, running water, infrastructure, etc, not a mascot name change, that if changed, will cause the crusaders involved to forget about their plight immediately after the change is enacted. If we really want to help Native Americans, there are far more effective ways to do so than changing a sports team name that many of them support and root for right now.
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  1. NavyDave's Avatar
    I miss the good ole days where Men were Men and kids didn't get suspended for using their fingers and thumbs as guns while playing cops and robbers. or Cowboys and Indians.