I read yesterday where people are changing Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s because these symbols are offensive. There has also been widespread calls to remove Confederate symbols from public display. I totally agree with these efforts to put these symbols in museums instead of public displays of honor. This started me thinking about some offensive team nicknames that should be changed.
Which brings me to the Washington Redskins.
Why in the hell do we still have a sports team called the Redskins? Is this not beyond offensive? Why has this not been changed yet? Just imagine what it would be like if the team were another color skin name? Not much difference yet Washington’s National Football League (NFL) franchise continues to go with it.
Over the years there have been several colleges which have changed their offensive nicknames. I’m still not sure about using nicknames such as Indians, Braves or Seminoles. While some say that these nicknames aren’t as offensive as Redskins what if we had teams named “Mexicans” or “Asians”? Hmmm, that gives it a different spin doesn’t it? So why is it okay for Native American names and not other ethnic groups?
Back to the Redskins….what’s stopping them from changing it? I guess it’s money and merchandising. Who the heck thought it was a good idea to name a football team in the NATION’S capital “Redskins” anyway? There have been many suggestions to change the name and logo to Warriors, Heroes, Redhawks, Griffins, Generals or Federals. They only need to look at their National Basketball Association (NBA) brothers – the Washington Wizards – who were known as the Washington Bullets until they changed their name in 1997 because the owner didn’t want the team’s name to be associated with any violent references.
I think it’s time to change it.
There have been similar protests against the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Chiefs but I guess these are considered tame compared to a team named for a SKIN color. Seriously?
Colleges which changed their offensive nicknames:
- Arkansas State – from Indians to Red Wolves
- Belmont – from Rebels to Bruins
- Miami (Ohio) – from Redskins to RedHawks
- North Dakota – from Fighting Sioux to Fighting Hawks
- St. Johns – from Redmen to Red Storm
- Southeast Missouri State – from Indians to Redhawks
- Sycracuse – from Orangemen to Orange
While we’re at it, I’m in favor of eliminating nicknames Rebels, Demons and Devils. Rebels are mostly reference to the Civil War and as for Demons and Devils – do we really need these too? The Wake Forest “Demon Deacons”??? Well, I have known some church deacons sooooo….
For years I have supported my position for Demons in that I was supporting the players and not the mascot of the team. Now it seems a little hypocritical for me to be offended when someone supports something with a demonic theme when I am saying “Go Demons” at a football game. I am going to end that practice.
I’m also wondering about the Chicago Blackhawks name of the National Hockey League (NHL). It’s the name of a Native American tribe but does it need to be a team’s name?
Let’s get this right and fix these nicknames. Yes, I know people get easily offended regardless what you do but let’s start with teams named “Redskins” and go from there.
Check out some of these books about the origins of sports team nicknames: