Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, is under enormous pressure to change the name of the Washington Redskins. Earlier this month, Aris Mardirossian, a neighbor of Snyder, registered a trademark for this NFL football team, "The Washington Bravehearts."
Snyder has stated that he'll never change the Redskins name or its mascot. It's here to stay and it seems to be an over my dead body sort of thing for Snyder. But Native American tribes are mad enough about this horrible name to bring back the Indian Wars. They're really pissed off and they want the Washington Redskins to change their name to the D.C. Bald Whigs, or the Washington Tea Party, or the Stark-Raving-Sane LSD Party, or the Washington Republicans. How's about the Washington Democrats, or Liar-Lawyers, or The Assholes Who Just Can't Agree on Anything?
Mardirossian created the trademark for the "entertainment in the nature of football games," to use his own words, so it seems as if Snyder might have changed his mind about keeping with the Redskins.
Oneida Indian chiefs opposed to the Redskins mascot name are slated to meet with NFL officials this week in New York City, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is chiming in: PETA suggests Washington's NFL team keep the name "Redskins" but change its mascot from an Indian brave to a potato - a redskin potato.
In The Huffington Post, PETA said: "When you hear the word 'redskin,' what do you immediately think of? Potatoes, of course! And who could be offended by a harmless redskin potato -- except, maybe, for the Yukon Gold lobby (and if Alaska had a football team, rest assured that we'd be the first to suggest the Yukon Gold Diggers as a franchise name)."
"The redskin potato would be a noble mascot for a variety of reasons. Potatoes are also native Americans, having been cultivated in Peru for millennia. A tasty, versatile, animal- and environmentally friendly vegan staple, potatoes are now the most popular vegetable in the U.S. They are loaded with nutrients, including iron, potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and even protein, and red potatoes in particular are high in antioxidants."
The Kansas City Star called PETA's suggestion "half baked," but then again, what do you expect from the major daily newspaper of a city that has another Native American symbol, The Kansas City Chiefs. Native Americans also have been part of a decades-long debate about this name as a racial slur towards them. In 2005, American Indian groups protested against the Chiefs' name at Arrowhead Stadium in a game against, well, who else, the Redskins.
Native Americans have suffered much worse consequences at the hands of the dominant culture, but their abhorrence to having sports teams named after their ethnicity seems universal. The only exception seems to be the Florida State Seminoles, a nickname officially sanctioned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
It's not a professional sports dilemma. Go through the league rosters of any high school and college conference. At least two or three out of ten to twelve of teams listed have American Indian mascot names. We love to name our sports teams after the race that we stole this country from - the American Indians.
The two mascots that seem to have Native Americans the most livid are the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians. The name "Redskins" is just way over the top, as far as a racial slur is concerned; while the Indians' mascot, Chief Wahoo - a stupidly smiling red face with a sole feather popping up - is a ridiculous portrayal of their proud and noble ethnicity.
Creativity and imagination are crucial. The possibilities of name changes are endless. Most American sports teams have unique and novel names, inoffensive to ethnic groups, and they've given their cities and schools a great sense of pride. The Marshall Thundering Herd is a great name for any athletic team - a juggernaut out to get its opponent. How's about the Oregon Ducks (imagine that, naming your team after a bird, and let's not forget the Rice and Temple Owls; and the UNF Ospreys and the YSU Penguins)? Do you want a mean animal, how's about the University of Michigan's - the Wolverines; or LSU's Tigers (a very popular carnivorous cat used by many teams) or UCLA's 'Bruins' or the Arkansas Razorbacks (a very mean-spirited breed of wild swine that's long run rampant through the Deep South). How's about the Pittsburgh Steelers (what a great blue-collar tag for a city that built itself with steel!) or the Milwaukee Brewers (I'll have another, bartender!), or the WVU Mountaineers (up in those Appalachian Mountains - wild, wooly & wonderful!).
In today's day and age, there's no reason to name a sports team, oftentimes in a derogatory way, after another race of people. Especially when the sole target seems to be Native Americans.
Those Indians are just being too sensitive about a plethora of American sports teams - from high school to college to professional - being named after them in some way or another. They don't understand, we don't mean anything by it, sports boosters and athletes cry.
If you're bored and are looking for something to do, however, why don't you visit an Indian reservation and go up to a group of big Native American men and ask, "Hey, how are you redskins doing today?" or say something like, "Boy, you braves look a lot like Chief Wahoo."
- They'll certainly not be very friendly towards you with this kind of 'pleasantry'. It might be something like General Custer's Last Stand revisited.
After the white man gave their race horrific European diseases, including blankets purposely infested with smallpox; after The Trail of Tears (the forced relocation and movement of Native American nations from the southeastern USA due to the Indian Removal Act of 1830); after being hunted down by the white man almost to the point of extinction; after living on impoverished reservations even today, it's the least the dominant culture can do - get rid of Indian mascots and names for sports teams.
In the meantime, spend your hard-earned dough at their reservation casinos. It's a way American Indian tribes make a few dollars for their people while vicariously and legally 'scalping' ole' pale face in the process. Cha-ching, Cha-ching.