All around the internet and newspapers across The United States this has been a debate going on about whether the Washington Redskins and other teams of the same ilk; The Atlanta Braves home of the Screaming Chief and the famed tomahawk chop; the Cleveland Indians which had perhaps the worse mascot in history Chief Wahoo (who some how keeps coming back); and other teams which appropriates Native American imagery, should change their names. It is ironic that there are so many people who seem to despite the Washington team because of the name but could care less about the baseball teams and everything that they do.
Now Suzan Harjo first tired to make a case of it in 1992 when she went to the Trademark bureau to have them cancel the trademark of the football team based on the claim that it is a disparaging term to Native Americans. This suit basically when nowhere as they said that they waited to long to long to pursue action against the team as they filed the trademark in 1967. Currently there is another suit being filed by a bunch of younger people and perhaps this will do something.
The ironic thing is that according to most polls conducted within the Native American community there is a resounding it’s not that bad. These polls have been criticized that they perhaps included people who were not Native Americans. So if this isn’t a sure fire answer to the problem what do the local tribes think about it, as this is the criteria that the NCAA uses for it’s team names, and the local tribes do find that the name is in honor of the people.
It’s not like people are up in arms against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, but the image of the Washington Redskins logo is deemed offensive. Yet at Florida State University they can have a white guy dress up as a Seminole and rides a horse into the stadium and plants a spear in the ground or the tomahawk chop done by the fans here and up in Atlanta as well. This does not make sense to me, and even fans of the Redskins often refer to the team as simply the Skins.
Now I’ve been a fan of the Washington Redskins my whole life so I may be a bit biases. However it seems like the team might have history on it’s side in this fight as they have been known since 1933 as the Redskins and were known as the Braves for their inaugural season. Would it be less offensive if the Redskins used one of their arrow logo or perhaps their R logo?
- ‘Redskins’ and irrelevance of public opinion (espn.go.com)