Posted January 10, 2013

Redskins to possibly get name change, says D.C. mayor

NFL
Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray wants to change the Redskins name. (Mandel Ngan/Getty Images)

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray wants to change the Redskins name. (Mandel Ngan/Getty Images)

Robert Griffin III might be playing for a new team soon, that is, one not called the Redskins but still playing for Washington D.C.

D.C. mayor Vincent C. Gray said he would like to discuss changing the name of the team if it relocates back inside city limits, according to Mike DeBonis of The Washington Post.

Gray hinted that the name should come because of its history as being a controversial moniker, a racial slur, calling it a “lightning rod” and said that he would like to “do the right thing.” He noted that it’s not a dealbreaker if the team were to move back inside D.C. from its current stadium in Landover, Md., but said that it’s currently something that he would like to get done and would expect the team to work with him on it:

“I think that if they get serious with the team coming back to Washington, there’s no doubt there’s going to have to be a discussion about that, and of course the team is going to have to work with us around that issue. I think it has become a lightning rod, and I would be love to be able to sit down with the team and see if a change should be made. [T]here’s a precedent for this, and I think there needs to be a dispassionate discussion about this, and do the right thing.”

The precedent to which Gray is referring is the name change the Washington Bullets made to be known as the Wizards. The late Abe Pollin, who owned the team until his death in 2009, had changed the name in 1995 from Bullets to Wizards because he said he didn’t want the team to contribute in any way to the city’s crime rate.


152 comments
eric.c.ness
eric.c.ness

How about changing the name of that team in Minnesota? The one that's never won a Super Bowl. They're an affront to my Norse ancestry.   ;)

 

Go Packers!

craig1
craig1

Here's a great idea - take care of trying to be mayor - you apparently have had great trouble dealing with that.  I think being voted mayor doesn't equal becoming owner of the Redskins.

craig.w.bryant
craig.w.bryant

Umm...lets see, the Redskins have their own stadium in Landover Maryland that is only 15 years old, the only stadium inside the limits of D.C. capable of supporting football is RFK, a 50-year old structure that the Skins left for FedEx field. So translation, the Skins won't be looking to move back inside the city limits anytime during this mayor's term (or probably ever) so this is basically a B-list politician trying to make a statement about a team's name. Every couple of years these things come up with the Redskins, Blackhawks, Braves and Indians, they never go anywhere. When Abe Pollin changed the Bullets to the Wizards it was because at the time D.C. led the nation in per capita murder rate, that made sense. This is useless grandstanding by a politician who should give whatever amount of salary he's collected for wasting his time on these thoughts back to the citizens of D.C. because any time he spent thinking about it certainly qualifies as fraud, waste, and abuse!

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

The Washington Socialists or Washington Capitalists are a few names to consider. But a name reflecting the negative aspect of Washington DC looks to be a running favorite among Americans these days. Nobody outside of  DC views it in a favorable light.

Leroy O. Jackson
Leroy O. Jackson

The name Washington Redskins is offensive. If its changed, it should be changed to the Maryland Redskins, East Coast Redskins, or just "The Redskins". The name Washington Redskins shows disrespect to all football fans.

Roger6
Roger6

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with tribal names for sports teams.  This is a ridiculous notion, as the Redskins symbolize our American ancestry and remind us all of the importance of Native Americans.  Whenever we hear the name as Seminoles, Chippewas, Hurons, Braves, Redskins, Sioux, Chiefs, Warriors, Indians, Blackhawks, Redmen, Eskimos, Mohawks, Choctaws, Tribe, Mohigans, or even Teepees, we know the significance of the Native Americans and the role they play, whether in the past or the present.  This isn't looked at as mocking or teasing, nor is it degrading to anyone as a Native American.  Keeping these names alive and mentioning these names on a daily basis only helps to keep the Native American spirit going forever.  

The Redskins name stays, as we honor every Native American with each passing day.  To change the name would be another example of forgetting our Country's heritage and history.

 

dw0128
dw0128

I'm by no means a Redskins fan but this is the kind of garbage that is wrong with our country today. You can't do anything anymore without offending someone or some subset of people. The team name carries a tradition that's been around for generations. What's next? Should rename the Florida State Seminoles? What about Hurricanes? Should we change that name because someone's life was altered by Hurricane Sandy? Give me a frickin' break already.

lonlashum
lonlashum

Washington Criminals? Washington Bullshitters? Washington Goomers? You want to put stipulations on them moving back into DC? Do you think you are not cutting off your nose to spite your face?

TheAngryCowboy
TheAngryCowboy

Ladies and gentleman, now introducing...your 2013 Washington Waffles!!!

Jdc38
Jdc38

In an earlier post I posed the question of whether it mattered in the context the name is used. That is, while Redskin has been and can be an offensive term, must it always? I was taken to task by stabmasterarson21by the reply “You obviously don’t get it.” I think my point had merit as the term Redskin does not have to be offensive. Obviously the NFL team that goes by that name does not intend it to be so. And as an example of non-offensive use, the Phoenix Indian School's name for their yearbook…you guessed it…the Redskin. Now why would, Native Americans themsleves name their Yearbook something derogatory? As kp stated below many Native Americans don't have an issue. Not suggesting this will change any minds, just some interesting information.

Kp
Kp

Sounds good?

 

Sounds stupid to me, and I'm a Native American.  Believe it or not, Natives and those with Native blood (for the most part) take great pride in sporting teams that represent Native Pride. 

 

There's a small minority of bigmouths (mostly non-Native) who think they speak for us and therefore moan and groan about the Cleveland Indians, the Redskins, the Braves, etc.  College teams have already been forced to change their monikers because of this stupidity.

 

Washington already changed their basketball team's name from the Bullets to the Wizards.  Actually 'bullets' was the best name ever for a D.C. based team - the US wages war worldwide and is happy to fire bullets and bombs and uranium on all nations (even here in America).  Are the ''Wizards'' a more accurate description for a D.C. team?  If so, then change the Redskins football team's name to the 'Satans'.  It's better than something stupid like the 'Wild' (Minnesota's North Stars had a terrific name... now the wild???  yuuuccckkkk).  Satan works for anything coming out of Washington DC.  Always has, always will. 

craig1
craig1

 @craig.w.bryant From one Craig to another Craig, I agree with every comment.  I think it is a shame that big colleges like Florida State can keep their name but little ole Northeast Louisiana Indians had to become the University of Louisiana in Monroe Warhawks.

 

Jdc38
Jdc38

@Wisconsin Death Trip The suggested names veiwing DC in a negative aspect are amusing. A little off topic for this thread but amusing. As a DC native and resident I fund it ironic though, as many of us in this area do. The DC area is a metro area of 5 million people. Sure plenty of government related jobs. But plenty of plumbers, car mechanics, bank employees, fast food clerks, etc... In other words, just regular folks. And isn't all of you - outside the DC - area that vote to send the representives to DC that create the government you so loath? Ummm...

Mike107
Mike107

 @Leroy O. Jackson I agree.

 

Washington Redskins is offensive. Please remove the pejorative word Washington from the franchise title. Nobody wants to root for anything associated with ugh Washington D.C.! I would  suggest Landover Redskins.

Jdc38
Jdc38

@Leroy O. Jackson Leroy your logic escapes me. If Washington Redskins is offensive how is "Maryland" Redskins any different. What am I am missing?

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

 @Roger6 What tribe is it called "REDSKINS" and where are they located?  There is absolutely NOTHING wrong w/ honoring a specific tribe so long as they agree to it à la the Florida State Seminoles.  

Daniel21
Daniel21

 @Roger6 Dude, reread your 2nd sentence.  How can a racial slur "remind us all of the importance of Native Americans."??  The name can only remind us of our dominance over an entire population.

ChristianGannon
ChristianGannon

Roger has it right on.  We are letting very slim minority positions (voting tally, not skin tone) on everything win the day.  We modify this and that because one or two think they might be offended or that they somehow speak for an entire culture, you kidding me?

 

Think in reverse on this issue...it is honorable to recognize our past and sports team monikers are a fun, light-hearted way to do so without harming a soul.

 

Great legs, Roger, by the way-

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

 @dw0128 If you can't see the difference between Redskins and Seminoles ya might just be from #PlanetDoofy.

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

 @Jdc38 It's okay if THEY use it but not if YOU use it.  Get it?  I doubt it.  Try shouting the N word next time you're around a few black people and let me know how that works out for you.

MikeSlay
MikeSlay

 @Jdc38 You're right. In "The Abolition of Man" CS Lewis uses "Redskin" as the label for the origin of Native American rules of ethics. Lewis was a prime language scholar and avoided the term "Indian" because it's stupid and possibly offensive. He was careful in his choice of terms.

lonlashum
lonlashum

 @Jdc38

 Could not have stated it better. Notice the whiteman/blackman are the ones complaining. Let the entire Indian Nation vote on this issue. If they overall say it is offensive, change it. Don't let a few change history. Of course the USA is run on the premise that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

nils
nils

 @craig1  @craig.w.bryantThe Seminole tribe in Florida had no problem with Florida State's team name, which is why the NCAA let the university keep its nickname. A lot of Native Americans object to all of the others, which is why they had to change. 

 

Daniel21
Daniel21

 @Jdc38  @Leroy Jdc38, I believe Leroy is employing sarcasm here.  But it's misplaced as the Hogs WON the NFC East this season, I'm not sure how relocating to D.C. would be disrespectful to football fans.  Or he could just be some political TROLL.

Jdc38
Jdc38

@stabmasterarson21 Oh I get it - that is, the contradiction of the argument. In an early post you said it was offensive. But now we are putting rules around it - its okay if they use it but others can't. So what is it? Offensive or not? So now you are saying it isn't offensive - in certain contexts. And to you and everyone else - stop the comparison with the N word. It doesn't hold. The N word was NEVER used anyway other than offensive. As my example demonstrated with the year book from the school it is used in a non offensive way.

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

 @MikeSlay  @Jdc38 Indian is STUPID because we've been using a term Columbus and his cohorts used because they were geographically challenged.  CS Lewis, while a great man and author was of a different era.  Let's say your favorite team is the Tennessee Titans and they decide to change it to the Tennessee Honkies, would you be offended?

Jdc38
Jdc38

@dhartm2 @ChrisWilson @nils dhartm2, not sure I would say "all" agree that the name is racist. You are certainly entitled to your view as are many that expressed no issue with the name. As for any connection of the name to the misery the last two decades that is ridiculous. The misery of the last two decades is a result of poor drafting. poor free agent decisions, too many coaches, to much interference from the owner. The name has nothing to do with that.

nils
nils

 @ChrisWilson  @nils

According to ULM president Cofer, ULM's appeals "received support from only one of the three local tribes." Since a lack of support was tantamount to an objection, I feel that my facts are straight. ULM's mascot also did not purport to represent a unique tribe, so any Native American could reasonably object, including the ones that dislike being called Indians and prefer being referred to as Native Americans.

dhartm2
dhartm2

 @ChrisWilson  @nils Regardless, I think we can all agree that Redskins is a racist name and it has probably contributed to the two decades of misery the franchise experienced.  If only the mayor could do something about little Danny boy Snider, you guys might have a chance to not suck forever.

ChrisWilson
ChrisWilson

 @nils  Actually NO tribe complained about the Northeast Louisiana Indians and they actually got an endorsement from several of the local tribes in the area. It was the NCAA that mandated it. Get your facts straight nils..

 

renaissance247
renaissance247

 @Daniel21  @Jdc38  @Leroy Relocating to D.C.?  Don't they already play in D.C.?  That's where the Washington name comes from, like the Capitals and Wizards.  So what's this about relocating to where they're already located?

markcrosal
markcrosal

 @dw0128  @stabmasterarson21

 The ND fighting Irish  =  a drunken bunch of Irish brawlers that cant hold their whiskey  get rid of it  next       Maybe   Redskins is different.  I cant see calling  a team the blackmen   or yellowmen  But what was wrong with the Marquette Warriors

MikeSlay
MikeSlay

Surprisingly, there is a famous counter-example. LBJ, in the oval office, used the N-word in an argument to allow blacks to vote. He said (maybe to Wallace, I'm not sure) "Do you think the N****** should be allowed to vote?" When the reply came back yes, LBJ shot back, "Then why won't you let 'em?"

 

The audio of this was released a few years ago. I heard it played on the news (I'd guess the PBS newshour). It's an amazing and profound moment in history.

MikeSlay
MikeSlay

Not much chance of that. Just as they're no longer the Boston Redskins, much of the original meaning (and art) isn't current.

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

 @MikeSlay  "It may be literally describing people who PAINTED their skin red."  I suppose that Redskin decal on each helmet is of one of those people, right? : D

MikeSlay
MikeSlay

Neither does "Bullets." Offensive doesn't always mean racially offense. By the way, I am very well aware of buffalo cowboys.

 

My case stands. Those who just assume "redskin" is offensive haven't done their homework. It isn't designed to be offensive. It's just a literal descriptor, though imprecise – but no more so than "black" and "white." The word "blonde" can be used as an insult, or as a complement. That word shouldn't be banned either.

 

The origin of the team name goes back to the Boston Tea party. It may be literally describing people who PAINTED their skin red.

 

Most people who are trying to get the Redskins to change their name have been intellectually lazy about it. They just assume their case is strong.

 

It isn't.

 

 

Jdc38
Jdc38

@stabmasterarson21 @MikeSlay @Jdc38 You need not even need to refer to CS Lewis. In a very scholarly article written by Ives Goddard of the Smithsonian Institution his research provides evidence the word did not have offensive origins. Goddard is an expert linguist. I won't quote from it here but if you are interested you can Google and read it yourself. I have. I am not suggesting that it justifies use of the word now. That is up to individual opinion of which this comment board shows much difference. I respect others opinion. I may disagree but you are entitled to your view.

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

 @MikeSlay Does the word Cowboy in any way connote race or a person's skin tone?  I must be missing something...  And before you answer w/ something witty there are black and Native American cowboys, Asian ones too.

MikeSlay
MikeSlay

You make a good point. Yes, CS Lewis isn't the judge. But hopefully I've convinced you and others that this isn't a no-brainer. Redskin may or may not be offensive, but let's not just assume that it is. The Native Americans who have posted here seem to think it isn't.

 

Consider another team name based on a word that seems to be designed to be offensive. Imagine calling men who work with steers, "Cowboys." Sounds like a put-down, right? Let's make Dallas rebrand their franchise!

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

 @MikeSlay  @stabmasterarson21  @Jdc38 If you and CS Lewis say so.  I have NEVER heard two Native Americans call another a Redskin but Lewis isn't the ultimate judge of whether it is a politically correct term or not IMO.  Dude wasn't even American for crying out loud.

MikeSlay
MikeSlay

 @stabmasterarson21  @MikeSlay  @Jdc38 

 

Yes, CS Lewis was of a different era -- specifically the middle 20th century. But the argument that the Redskins should change their name is that it is originally an offensive term, not that it has become an offensive term. No one uses that term offensively now, they only use it in reference to a sports team.

 

CS Lewis understood the original meaning of Redskin far better than we do. He chose that word carefully based on REAL knowledge and research -- not the junk that passes as truth on the internet.

 

Redskin is more analogous to "white" or "black" than Honkie.