While the Washington Redskins lost their first game of the season on Monday to the Philadelphia Eagles, they gained more attention because of their team name, which journalists and certain media outlets consider offensive to Native Americans.
The Oneida Indian Nation of New York initiated its "Change the Mascot" campaign on Sunday and created an online audio campaign demanding the team change its moniker. This flame became a wildfire as many fans associate the team with its "Indian" mascot. Peter King, an NFL journalist and NBC Sunday Night Football enthusiast, now refrains from using "Redskins" and refers to the team as "Washington" to respect the sentiments of Native Americans and cultural associations. Media outlets such as Slate Magazine, the New Republic, and Mother Jones also no longer use "Redskins." However, outlets such as the New York Times, the Associated Press and the Washington Post will continue to use the team's full moniker during the NFL season. The term "Redskins" evokes a history of discrimination and racism targeted at Native Americans throughout American history. The term "Redskins" dates back to the 1800s and 1900s when European settlers colonized areas inhabited by Native Americans.
I recommend that the team change its moniker, and that they do so without NFL orders in order to show respect for the community and Native American association's sentiments. This gesture would show that the team honors the wishes of its fans, Native Americans, and Native American associations.
If the NFL mandates the change, it could seem that the team did so to appease those who find the moniker offensive. By willingly changing the moniker, the team would show a genuine concern for a people's sentiments.
In May, Congress issued a letter and requested the team's owner Daniel Snyder to change the moniker. Snyder refused and voiced his reason for the moniker to remain the same: "As a lifelong Redskins fan, I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what's it about and what it means," said Snyder. "So we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season. We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps."
I understand Snyder's sentiments. As the team's owner, he does not want to ruin tradition. However, he should realize that his team's name is highly offensive to an important demographic in the U.S. Snyder should reconsider his decision and change the team's moniker to something less racist and meaningful to himself and the players.