In Defense of a Name. Why the Redskin controversy is stupid



For the past few months, I’ve been dealing with something more annoying than seeing our current president smirking on my television, more annoying than the Royal Baby drama that happened over the summer, more annoying than the straggling trolls who still believe that my favorite football team, the New York Jets, are still a circus.

That annoying thing is this continuous debate, or rather, force feeding by the liberal media, that the Washington Redskins name is inappropriate and needs to be changed.

Every morning, as part of my daily routine, I turn on my smartphone, go to Uni Watch, and read about sports uniforms. No, seriously, that’s what I read, in addition to the sports pages and the personal journal in the Wall Street Journal. After skimming through the headline story, something that I’ll either take a second look at later, and the Ticker, which highlights bits and bobs from the uni-verse, I often find myself reading the latest “Skins watch”, a crusade by site webmaster Paul Lukas to highlight people’s negative reactions to the Washington Redskins name. Very often, he points out the latest journalists who have decided to protest the Washington Redskins name, and barely covers those who say that the name is fine as it is. On average, in the Daily Skins watch, if there are ten items related to the controversy, nine out of ten of those items are anti-Skins.

Journalistic integrity mandates that there should be no bias in reporting, and while Uni Watch isn’t exactly ESPN, Lukas is still a freelancer for the sports media behemoth. In some of his more recent ESPN columns, mainly the most recent Uni Watch Power Rankings, he voiced his displeasure with not only the Redskins, but also similarly named teams, like the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians, by having them finish low in the rankings. Naturally, this angered plenty of fans, who correctly assumed that Lukas was venting his political correctness through a sports ranking, two things which really should not mix.

As a sports fan, I agree that politics and sports do not mix. Sure, you can have a president throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening day, that’s fine, but to impose your ideology on people who couldn’t care less about whether or not the team name is offensive or not is stupid. It makes you look immature. In addition, journalists who protest the name by not using it or referring to the team as something else aren’t being noble, they’re acting like children covering their ears and saying “Nyah Nyah, I’m not listening.” Again, I point out, that’s something a five year old does on a schoolyard, not a fully grown journalist. In addition, what type of message are the journalists trying to convey? Are they saying that in order to rise above the name, they won’t use it? Yeah, that may work for characters in fiction like Beetlejuice or Lord Voldemort, but for a sports team, that’s just plain stupid.

Dan Snyder, owner of the Redskins,  has said that he will never change the name as long as he owns the team, despite commissioner Roger Goodell saying that “if one person is offended, then something needs to change”. I applaud Snyder for this. While Goodell may be the commissioner of the NFL, the league that the Redskins are a part of, he has no right to force Snyder to change just because some PC liberal white people, and yes, the majority of those offended are PC liberal whites, say the name is offensive. Even if Goodell did threaten action against the Redskins, he would have to realize that they are a popular franchise, and if he offends the fans of the franchise, the NFL will take a large money hit, something they really cannot afford in light of the big concussion settlement.

One of the questions that has been asked is “What do Native Americans think about it?” In truth, most Native Americans don’t seem to care. The only tribe that seems to be really taking offense to it is the Oneida tribe in upstate New York. While the Oneidas are gaining ground in their offense against the name, their backers are…surprise surprise… members of Congress, particularly those in the Democratic party, which… surprise surprise… is already against the name. Even if Congress did support changing the name, forcing the team to change their name would be a violation of the First Amendment, which is the protection of speech. The Oneidas may feel that they are doing many people a favor by launching this campaign, but in truth, they are wasting people’s time.

Another question that needs to be asked, “If the name is so offensive, why wasn’t it changed before?” And that is a good question. If the name was so offensive, it should have been changed, and not now, but back then. But in truth, can you imagine a revisionist history in which the team name was changed? Could you see the name being changed in the NFL record book, the Super Bowl champion Washington (changed from Redskins)? Ask any fan who was there when the Redskins won a Super Bowl, if the name was changed, their likely response would be to the question, who won the Super Bowl between Washington and Buffalo would be The Redskins. No amount of white out would change what the fans would say. They were born into the Redskins culture, and even to this day would refer to them by their old name.

No matter what happens, the fans will continually support the Redskins. Forcing a name change on a team only works with an unpopular franchise, not one who has a large fanbase. Even if you appease the PC liberal whites, you realize that you are offending those who actually care. Nobody cares about the stuffed shirt journalists who may talk until they’re blue in the face. For every one that cries foul, you can bet that there are hundreds. if not thousands, who say “Go Redskins”. Teams weren’t made to appease the media, they were made to appease the fans, and even then they weren’t meant to appease all fans. If that was the case, then what point would there be in having a league, or 31 other teams for that manner? Would there even be sports if one team could appease everyone?

That being said, I think that Paul Lukas, and all the people who are offended by a name really need to take a good long hard look at themselves. Your cause may be noble in your mind, but in truth, you are being nothing more than immature spoiled children. Everyone is going to be offended by something once in a while, and not everything is going to go your way. Lukas and the Anti-skins crusade is fighting a losing battle. The Redskins will never change their name, and a small group of butthurt PC liberal white journalists isn’t going to change anything about the situation.




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