It’s a visible problem that plagues the NFL today. Sure there is protests, fan disinterest, and the looming XFL relaunch, but for a long time people have complained about the name and identity of Washington D.C.’s football team, the Washington Redskins.
The team has been around since the early 30’s and has done its fair share of winning over the years. It has 2 NFL titles and 3 Superbowl wins to its credit. The Team itself is not the problem for the fans or the fans of the NFL over the years.
It’s the name and the image that gets to people, and it’s one that I think needs to change.
The image of the Indian chief used as the team’s logo isn’t exactly a friendly one, especially if you have Native American Ancestry. Even if you don’t, it’s not exactly a shining image to put onto a sports team. It reaks of the olden days when ANY league is sporting in the US named half their teams after Native Americans, tribes, warriors, and whatever. It’s a sign on the times from a team name created in the 1930s. And the name. Redskins is not a great thing to call anybody, let alone a sports team that is worth a lot of money.
There has been an outcry for years about it, but there is still is, the Washington Redskins, with the same mascot, year in and year out. This isn’t about the fans, this isn’t about the players, but could something be done to change what the team’s image has become?
The first step that would probably have to happen is setting aside “tradition.” The team is narrowing in on 100 years of play, and that is a lot of history to have behind you. But being historical does not mean that something has to last forever either. Old stories of how the team arrived at that name really don’t mean anything to a lot of people, especially since they were formally The Boston Braves. They just kind of took the lateral with the name change there. It worked then, but as time goes on, it is looking more and more obsolete. History is one thing, but things do need to allowed to change.
The name probably will need to change. It does not matter where the team is located to change a name like that. To a lot of people whether they are familiar with the NFL or not, the name “Redskins” is just an old-time racial epitaph. Teams have changed names all the time over the course of Football history, but why does THIS one have to remain the same? There aren’t that many people demanding the Decatur Staley’s name be brought back. No one is saying the that Houston Texans be called the Oilers “for history sake” (and yes I know the Oilers became that Titans) but whenever the subject of a name change comes up, there are those who refused the idea because the name had been around since 1930’s. Leave it up to fans and the people who live in D.C. (or wherever they end up going) to decide a proper new name for the team. Supposedly that is how many of the other teams have chosen their team names through history, why not go there and give something to connect the people to the team? Give them some ideas and let it go to town!
New Ownership may also be needed. It’s been shown that the current ownership doesn’t really care about what people say about the name or the image, as long as they get paid to run it. Maybe that is the problem as well. Sometimes a change of leadership is needed if the ones in charge don’t want to do anything. Of course, nothing illegal is going on either. So, it would take a lot of money to get a true change of ownership involved.
At the base of it though, is a change in the image. More than just a name, but that logo should probably be retired as well. Most school sports teams that have these kinds of names are changing there’s, So are the Cleveland Indians. Why not one of the biggest in the nation? Money mostly. But when it affects your bottom line because you want to dig your heels in the sand, it’s not really a hill to die on.
If this issue is to ever get solved, CHANGE is the biggest thing people need.