Not All Voices Are Being Heard in ‘Redskins’ Name Debate
This question is really starting to get attention and with good reason. Recently, the Seattle Times decided to ban the use of the word "Redskins" in all of its publications. The editor is taking a hard stance and has a lot of really good points. I understand, but I know people who are not being listened to, but should be. I think almost everyone agrees that the name "Redskins" is offensive to a large portion of people. The name has been with the team since 1932 and I can't believe that after all that time, a change has never seriously been considered until now. It seems so logical right? Change the name and everyone will be happy. Turns out the solution is much more complicated then I thought.
Let me start by saying I am a life-long football fan. I have been watching the NFL since the great Walter Payton, Steve Largent, and Joe Montana played. I understand and believe that keeping the NFL great includes honoring its past and protecting its legacy. That is one of the main arguments from people that are trying to keep the name Redskins from changing.
Also, my wife and most of her family including our two beautiful children are Native American and that has made me think about this a lot lately. I know enough about the subject to be able to say that almost everyone is on one side or the other.You can go almost anywhere and ask fans about changing the Redskins name and their answers will be very polarized and will even surprise you.
Here's why I'm torn: I used to host an MNF party at a casino in Pendleton, Oregon, and a large majority of people that came were Native American. More then once we talked about changing the name and their answer surprised me. They did not want a change at all. They said the Redskins were "their team" and they would be offended if the name was changed. Not only did they embrace the name but it was the main reason they were fans. Honestly, I thought it was strange, but I had to take them for their word.
What does keeping the name "Redskins" mean for my own children who are part Native American? What will I say to my children when they ask me why it wasn't changed? Is changing the name even something that I personally have the right to question? Does changing the name erase the legacy of the Washington Redskins or does it enhance it? I have a feeling that my questions will be answered soon, and that is something that I honestly thought I would never personally see.