Essay:Washington Redskins name controversy

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The American football team currently playing in Landover, Maryland [1] have had their current racist nickname since 1933 when they moved to Fenway park (home of the Red Sox[2]) after previously playing one season as the "Boston Football Braves"[3]. While their founding owner, avowed racist George Preston MarshallWikipedia, never claimed the name was intended to honor native Americans (and in fact once explicitly said the opposite[4]), current owner Dan Snyder defends the name as "honoring" native Americans[5] and spares no effort to find token Native Americans to agree with him. While many major newspapers[6] as well as TV personalities such as Phil Simms[7][8], Keith Olbermann or Stephen Colbert have criticized the name or vowed publicly not to use it to refer to the team in question both the NFL and the front office of the Maryland area professional Football team have flatly refused to change the racist name. As a matter of course right-wing people take the increasing sensitivity with regards to the insulting name as a giant[9] left-wing conspiracy to take away our freedumb... Or something.

Why this is a big fucking deal[edit]

First of all the team currently represents the capital of the nation and if not the people governing the country, many people directly working for them[10] are fans of this racist entity. This is of course a huge embarrassment to anybody who has any shred of decency in them. Furthermore, the term is uniquely racist. While teams named "Indians", "Braves" or "Chiefs" can at least argue that they use terms that are not in and of themselves offensive[11] and teams named after individual tribes have a very convincing case to make that they are in fact "honoring" Native Americans, the Landover team has no excuse whatsoever, for a term that has been used as nothing but a slur for several decades now.

Right wing BS about the issue[edit]

Of course, as this issue is tangentially related to political correctness and Football[12] right wing people are making a stink about it and some arguments will be repeated ad nauseam. One common form of whataboutism is mentioning the Notre Dame "Fighting Irish"[13] and saying they are somehow as bad if not worse than Washington. Which of course should not be any argument for anything. Although the origin of the name "Fighting Irish" is obscure, it seems to represent the contribution of Irish students or staff (such as Irish-American college President William Corby)[14], whereas Washington is not known for its 19th century Native American administrators.

And than of course there are those that think this all a First Amendment issue. Which shows just how little understanding most right wing people have of the first amendment...

So are we gonna see any progress?[edit]

In short, not unless either Dan Snyder[15] or someone atop the NFL either steps down or is removed from office.

{Edit by someone not the original writer) There has been progress, see Wikipedia:Washington Redskins name controversy.


  1. deceptively named "Washington" to suggest them actually playing in DC
  2. Yep: That's where the name comes from - something ethnic and red-soxy
  3. Back in those days many NFL teams named themselves after Major League Baseball teams. Take the New York Football Giants, for instance
  5. Whom he - ironically - never in fact calls "Redskins"
  6. part of a libruhl conspiracy, no doubt
  7. Former Quarterback of the Giants, a division rival of Landover, MD
  9. hu hu. Giant. NFC East rival of that team there
  10. As seen on The West Wing
  11. Though their mascots may be in individual cases
  12. A sport known for appealing to nearly every demographic, but especially male Southerners
  13. Bonus points for the speaker being or faking being Irish
  14. Wikipedia Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Monicker
  15. The current owner