It’s Past Time to Change the Racist Redskins Name. Why Aren’t You Angry?

By  | 

I’ve had trouble with the Redskins name ever since I was in elementary school. I never understood why the mascot of a professional football team was just a man with some feathers on his head. You would think that if a seven-year-old kid can see the wrong in naming a team “Redskins,” then adults would too. But sadly many of them do not. So to help get my point across, for the rest of this article I will refer to them as the R*dskins.

Daniel Snyder, owner of the R*dskins since 1999, has been pressured to change the name of the team by fans, politicians, and various advocacy groups who feel that the name is derogatory to Native Americans. In May 2013, in response to a question regarding the team’s name, Snyder told USA Today, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER – you can use caps.”


I get that you’re from Maryland Mr.Snyder, I am too. And I get that you are a die-hard R*dskins fan, though I am not. But can you seriously not see the racism behind the name of your team?

You are literally taking a whole group of people and turning them into caricatures, and when asked to just think about changing the name to something less offensive, your response is always a loud and clear.

Now, my issue with the name of the R*dskins is not just with Daniel Snyder, it goes a lot deeper than that. My issue runs with the players, the fans, the coaches, the media, and the NFL. Any and all these people could take a stand against Snyder and the R*dskins organization and possibly make a change. But who cares about Native Americans right? We only came to their country, took their landkilled their people, and made it ours. Then to rub salt in the wounds we took a stereotypical image of a Native American and made it a mascot alongside the likes of  falcons, jaguars, ravens, bears, rams, and a ton of other animals. Is that what you see Native Americans as, R*dskins fans? Animals?

You should be ashamed

I’ve been having this argument for years and years, and I have heard the same arguments as to why the R*dskins are a nice, genuine, wholesome team who are just misunderstood. I’ve heard the, “It’s been like that for so long, it would be weird to change the name now,” excuse. Well…

Slavery was normal in America for more than 200 years. People thought it would be “weird” if we gave Black people in America the same rights as White people. Laws change, social systems crumble, but universal truths are constant. What is true and right is true and right for all.

So often when I’m having this argument I say, “What if the team was called ‘Washington Blackskins’ with a Black person wearing a do-rag?” The person is often quiet for a very long moment before replying, “It’s not the same.”

How? How is it not the exact same thing? So what is racist for Black people isn’t racist for Native Americans? That in itself sounds racist to me, and whenever someone says that to me I just simply…

spazz out.

What’s funny to me is that most R*dskins fans are Black, and you would think that they would be more sensitive to racial slurs. I am willing to bet all the money in my bank account that if the team were called the “Washington Blackskins,” there would be a march on Washington, Black religious leaders and other Black activist would be holding press conferences, and a social media campaign with a witty hash tag would be in full effect. Since the slur isn’t directed at the Black community, we don’t really seem to care.

whatever right?

To Snyder, the NFL, and all of the team’s fans, the name isn’t racist. They see it as an entity to be proud of. They’ve watched R*dskins “heroes” such as Joe Gibbs, Sean Taylor, Clinton Portis, and many more, give a good chunk of their lives to this organization. Well I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, R*dskins fans: these guys are not heroes. In fact, they played an essential part in the continuing racism that plagues America today. Also, the original owner of the team, George Marshall, was a loud and proud bigot. He was the last owner in the NFL to integrate his team, and only did so because he was forced to do so by the federal government. “We’ll start signing Negroes, when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing Whites,” Marshall once said. This is the history that makes R*dskins fans proud?

I wish i could roll my eyes further into my head.

Just because you think it isn’t offensive doesn’t mean that it actually isn’t. In fact, many Native Americans do find the name to be incredibly insulting.

  • Oneida Nation has encouraged Americans to lobby the NFL in support of the name change at
  • A group of Native Americans sued the team back in 2013 arguing against the team’s trademark rights to the name. Trademarks that are deemed racist are illegal under U.S. federal law.
  • The 2,000-man protest at the 1992 Super Bowl consisted of members from various tribes (Chippewa, Sioux, Winnebago, Choctaw).
  •  Hundreds protested at the home stadium in Landover, Md. on Thanksgiving day 2013.
  • The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) issued a video last year that consists of leaders from seven different tribes calling for the name to be changed, and released a new and even more powerful video showing everything that American Indians are, R*dskin not being one of them.

Thankfully they are not competely alone in their fight to get the R*dskins to change their name. There have been numerous politicians, former athletes, and plain old citizens who have helped in the conflict.

  • President Barack Obama said, “If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team — even if it had a storied history — that was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it.”
  • DC Mayor Vincent Gray said that if the team wanted to relocate from Maryland to DC they would have to consider changing their name.
  • Fifty senators sent a letter to the NFL (really just Roger Goodell) saying that the NFL needs to change the name.

“The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” the letter reads. “We urge the NFL to formally support a name change for the Washington football team…We urge you and the National Football League to send the same clear message as the NBA did: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports.”

thank you… its about damn time

Native Americans aren’t cartoons. They aren’t caricatures, or mascots. They are people like you and me, and deserve to be treated with a lot more respect than we have given them over the past hundred years. Their voice may be small in America, but it can still be clearly heard, and as long as one Native American is offended by the word, I think it’s worth discussing what can be done to fix that.

So, I’m going to help out you R*dskins fans a little bit since I don’t hold grudges. Instead of the R*dskins, you could call yourselves the Pigskins! The name still has the same syllables as the original name, it’s a lot less racist, and pigs are super cute and super smart. You could even have RG3 race a pig across the field to start every game or something.

HTTP- Hail To The Pigskins!

That was just a suggestion off the top of my head, you could change it to literally anything and it would probably be better than the R*dskins. Just please for the love of god change that racist name.

Trevor Smith

Featured image courtesy of [Keith Allison via Flickr]

Trevor Smith
Trevor Smith is a homegrown DMVer studying Journalism and Graphic Design at American University. Upon graduating he has hopes to work for the US State Department so that he can travel, learn, and make money at the same time. Contact Trevor at



Send this to friend