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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Redskins" Name Under Fire

Wild on Sports
"Redskins" Name Under Fire
By Wild on Sports Analyst Jason Gillson

If there is anything that the sports world has perfected in its hundreds of years of existence it is controversy. Whether it is a call on the field, a player, a team, a fan-base, what have you -- there is always a little something, a hot button topic to stir the pot.

Media outlets and high profile personalities all across the US this week have strengthened their attention on the NFL's Washington Redskins. The Oneida Indian Nation, based in Central New York are at the helm of the latest movement to to eradicate the use of what they call the "R-word". 
High profile figures across the country have spoken on the matter. Even president Obama weighed in over the weekend saying if it were up to him he would think seriously about changing the name. NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell has said that while any name change (for the time being) would be up to the team, the league "needs to be listening" to what those offended have to say.

For years various groups have spoken out against teams being associated with Native tribes. The Oneida organization's website - changethemascot.org - shows attempts at "progress" dating back to the late 1960's. These groups come and go each taking their turn in the spotlight.

From a purely sports standpoint the use of Native American names with sports franchises is not done in disrespect those groups or tribes -- it is done in tribute. The idea of the American Indian is that of a strong warrior, a symbol of unrelenting toughness and strength. "Redskin" is not a racial discrimination against the tint of someone's actual skin, it is merely a tribute to the toughness that that sports organization wants its players to have. It is about the fight and determination that the name embodies.

The attempts by these groups to end some huge racial derogatory name and the so called discriminatory nature of it is more of self serving attempt to either A) get their name in the spotlight or B) get more money out of the NFL which has already paid thousands to fight various lawsuits regarding the Redskins name. Not to single out the Oneida Indian Nation, they are just the most recent group to speak out against a sports franchise.

I'm sure for some people that notion comes across as a bit harsh but in what way is the name of a professional sports franchise effecting your everyday life? Guess what, its not! People aren't treating members of the Oneida Nation differently in their local supermarkets because of the Washington Redskins. Its all ridiculous.

The Washington Redskins, the Chicago Blackhawks, if you want to go the college route the North Dakota Fighting Sioux are all names, mascots and logo's that are some of the best in all of sports. What signifies toughness more -- Washington Redskins or Miami Dolphins? If I'm playing a sports I want to be the Redskin.

It is time for these tribes to take a step back and understand that these names are not meant in any way to slander your people. In fact it is the exact opposite.


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