Why The Washington Redskins Should Not Change Their Mascot Name

Chief Zee

Chief Zee

There is a movement out there and gaining momentum, that the Washington Redskins need to change their name because it is offensive to Native Americans. Usually pointed out to us by liberal non native american sports writers. Just sayin’.  STORY

 While owner Dan Snyder has emphatically stated he has no interest in ever changing the Redskin name, don’t assume that they couldn’t be forced to change it. Hey, they are mandating a kinder gentler method of tackling these days.

Many teams (college and high school) have already moved away from the name to avoid pressure and negative press like Ohio University who changed their mascot to Redhawks in 1997, for example.  

As a long time Cowboys fan, I may be the last guy to ever defend the Washington Redskins but in this matter, I agree with Dan Snyder. (Did I say that out loud?)  Keep your name and be proud of it Redskins. The more I learn about the origin of the name and how it became their mascot, the more I realize it was never intended to be derogatory. Here is my argument for why they shouldn’t change the name.

1. “Redskin” not originally used to describe skin color.

Some assume that the term “Redskin” was used to describe the skin color of all Native Americans. Having known many native americans in my lifetime, I didn’t ever think their skin looked particularly red. I just called them by their names. It turns out that Europeans used the term “Redskin” to describe the red paint Algonquin Native Americans put on their faces.  The Algonquins occupied Chesapeake Bay which of course is in the area of  Washington DC.

Actually, Captain John Smith described the fact that they painted their faces to indicate certain events. They not only used red but black and white too on occasions.

“The red color symbolizes war, blood, strength, energy, power and success in war.”– American Literature Challenge Word Press.

Redskin referred not to the natural skin color of the Delaware, but to their use of vermilion face paint and body paint. –Wiki

What could be more appropriate than a football team in the Chesapeake Bay area painting their faces red as they go into battle on the gridiron? More of an honor and tribute to the Algonquins than an insult. It’s part of the heritage of that area.  

2. The Washington Redskins were given their name by…..wait for it…a native american.

The Redskins were originally know as the Boston Braves but in 1933, the name was changed to Redskins by the team’s coach William “Lone Star” Dietz who was actually Sioux. If Dietz was insulted by the term then why would he possibly pick the name as a mascot? Dietz saw it as a symbol of pride and recognition for all native americans.

3. Most Native Americans don’t find it offensive.

In my personal experience, while in college in NC, I knew a couple Lumbee Indian students who were the biggest Redskin fans I ever met. I’m positive they both would be quite disappointed if Washington ever changed that name. OK that’s only a couple guys but there is evidence that they represent the majority.   

A famous poll from Sports Illustrated in 2002, pointed out that 81% of Native Americans said that pro sports teams should not stop using indian related names.

4. Changing the name has no impact on the real struggles faced by some native americans.

Many Native Americans do face many challenges in our culture but changing names of sports teams doesn’t improve life for any of them in any way. The mascot names were intended to honor the history of native americans. While in high school, I played for a football team that proudly carried the name “Warriors”. We took great pride in that name and rallied behind what it represented going into battle. 

Interestingly Cherokee high school located on the Cherokee reservation in western NC, has Braves as their mascot. I’m confident they take pride in the name as well. Have the sports liberals tried to get them to change their name? 

Final Take:

The Redskin name is an interesting part of american history and a significant ritual which should be honored. When one considers the origins of the term and how Washington became the Redskins, it seems absolutely ridiculous that some moral superior individuals could ask the name to be removed.  Hold your ground Snyder and be a warrior to keep that name and wear it with pride.

A symbolism over substance move of changing the name actually won’t show how far we have come as people at all. However, by keeping the name, it will be an indication of a more mature and united people who actually understand a little history.  

Hail to the Redskins!  (But go Cowboys!)

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4 thoughts on “Why The Washington Redskins Should Not Change Their Mascot Name

  1. One more interesting fact about the Redskins is that their mascot is actually NOT a Native American but an African American! This whole subject about the name of the team being offensive toNative Americans is just absurd–especially since the name “Redskins” was actually chosen by the team’s coach, who was himself aSioux Indian! Like you said, he considered the name a symbol of pride and recognition for native americans. I know it’s a slow, basically uneventful time of year for the NFL–but are we to believe the sports writers have nothing better to pontificate about than the time-honored traditional name of the football team in our nation’s capitol? Is the arrest of one of the NFL’s most prominent players (TE Aaron Hernandez) for murder not a big enough story? Come on, man! NFL Training Camp openings, when we can concentrate onthedraft picks & undrafted rookies, new coaches and schemes, etc. can’t get here soon enough…

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  2. The Washington Redskins Have no Mascot. PERIOD end of discussion. Chief Zee is a FAN he is not employed by the team he is and always has been a FAN a very dedicated fan but a fan nonetheless.

    Appreciate the take on the subject…

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