Aaahhh football. I love it.
President Obama has weighed in the great “Redskins” debate. I really don’t have any issue with what he said, it just provides a backdrop for the conversation.
For awhile, I was actually in favor of changing the name. Some of my friends are Redskins fans, and I know there’s a great sense of tradition with that team and that name. However it just seemed to me that of the teams named after Native Americans , this is one that is derogatory. On the other hand their song starts out with “Hail to the Redskins” so they’re really not dissing them.
Chiefs, Braves, Warriors, Seminoles, they don’t seem derogatory. There are a few college teams who’ve changed their names. I listed a few below. I’m a Cleveland Indians fan, and while Indians by itself isn’t necessarily derogatory, their mascot, “Chief Wahoo” has taken some flak as being a negative portrayal of Native Americans.
Our beloved Chief Wahoo
But then, I saw some polling data in which a very small percentage of Native Americans are offended. Sure, that leaves some that are. President Obama mentioned that in his remarks.
Obama, in an interview with The Associated Press, said team names such as the Redskins offend “a sizable group of people.” He said that while fans get attached to the names, nostalgia may not be a good enough reason to keep them in place.
I’m not really sure how “sizable” it is. However, he went on to say that:
… he doesn’t think Washington football fans are purposely trying to offend American Indians. “I don’t want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here. They love their team and rightly so,” he said.
In 2096, Caucasian protesters objected to the mascot of the “Savannah Screaming Simpsons”
Of course they’re not trying to purposely offend anyone. No one alive today named the team. Here’s a point I’ve made before on this blog. In a free country, we’re all going to be offended once in a while. That’s the way it is.
Well, they’ve had that name for 80 years. That’s not really the point in the argument. But, it’s a question of hegemony, right? (I’ve linked the definition of the word below). Personally, as a white man, I’ve always been offended by the Homer Simpson character. The entire Simpsons are a pretty offensive depiction, actually. I guess I’m on the other side of the fence of this one, because it’s a pretty successful show.
One of my favorite teams the Cleveland Browns, have had an elf as their mascot. And they’re pissed. Not so much because of their portrayal as the mascot, but because the team sucks.
The “Brownie Elf” mascot. The Elves had a protest, saying “It’s a stereotype that Elves have oversized big toes. We don’t all have huge big toes.”
Dan Snyder the owner, had vowed never to change the name. Well, I still don’t know. What do you think and what is your reason?
Here’s just a few of the colleges
- St. John’s changed its mascot from the Redmen to the Red Storm,
- Marquette is now the Golden Eagles instead of the Warriors
- Stanford switched from the Indians to the Cardinal.