NFL franchise faces scrutiny over longtime nickname
In seemingly every professional sports league in the United States, there is a team who’s been put on the hot-seat for having a mascot with a negative racial-undertone. The most notable of these teams is the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. Despite constant scrutiny since taking over as owner of the team in 1999, Dan Snyder has always refused the thought of changing his team’s controversial name. Snyder has taken heat from various media members throughout the years on his stance, most recently this summer, when he told the USA today, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER—you can use caps.”
Not only is the media speaking out, but also finding unique ways to protest the use of the Redskins’ name. For instance, Peter King, of Sport Illustrated, has ‘boycotted’ referring to Washington’s NFL franchise as the Redskins in his popular weekly NFL column, Monday Morning Quarterback. The same goes for the Editor in Chief of Grantland.com, Bill Simmons, who simply uses the Washington D.C.’s rather than recognize them as the Redskins. The media’s voice is surely having an impact on the fans as well, most notably with our country’s biggest sports fan, President Barack Obama.
That’s right, our Commander-in-Chief has even taken notice on the Washington name predicament. In an interview over the weekend with the Associated Press, Obama voiced his opinion for a name change, saying he would “think about changing” the team’s name. He also added, “I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real, legitimate concerns that people have about these things.”
Although Snyder has held a firm stance, when someone as prominent as our country’s president comments on a minuscule issue like a team’s mascot, even the most stubborn should take a second look. Regardless of anyone’s opinion toward the nickname, if it only shines a negative light on your franchise, why keep the name? You can give a hundred arguments as to why the name is or isn’t offensive, but the only thing that really matter is the fact that it is an argument in the first place. Washington fans will still love the team if they are the Redskins or the Renegades, so why bother the backlash? Instead, just make the change.