I hate the Washington Redskins. It's almost like an unwritten rule that as a die hard Cowboys fan I must have deep and unwavering hatred for those God awful burgundy and mustard jerseys. And I most certainly do! I hate the team, its players, fans, coaches, stadium, I pretty much hate them in every capacity. This division rivalry features two of the most passionate fan bases in pro sports so the intensity is warranted, but recently I've begun to hate the franchise for an entirely different reason.
It feels dumb saying I didn't realize how unbelievably offensive the name "Redskins" actually is until now, but it's true. Prior to the recent media attention that's arisen the thought had never once crossed my mind. While tradition is in no way an excuse for bigotry or racism, it's the historic significance of the team which lead me to ignore such a blatant display of prejudice. They've been the Redskins for as long as I've been alive! And even 50 years before that! But society has changed drastically since then, and its an unacceptable representation for an American franchise in 2013. Although, it is understandable how such an issue could go unnoticed for so long.
How ironic is it that the team representing our nation's capital would use a name and logo with such oppressive implications towards Native Americans. "Redskin" specifically refers to race or complexion, which makes it much more offensive than names like Florida State Seminoles, Chicago Blackhawks, Cleveland Indians, or my beloved Atlanta Braves. Though it is believed by many that all such names should be removed from pro and college sports, the distinction between the name Redskins and all others is obvious.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated, amongst others, has actually stopped using the name 'Redskins' all together. Honestly it's a trend we should all follow. It's naive to think the National Football League would change the name of one of its most profitable franchises simply because it's the morally correct thing to do. As long as selling the team's merchandise provides such a lucrative source of income for the NFL things will continue to be business as usual, despite how ridiculously offensive it is to refer to a team using a racial slur. Perhaps if enough people demonstrate some form of protest, whether it be no longer using the name, or refusing to buy merchandise we can put enough pressure on the league to make a change.
I honestly feel terrible for the fans, the real life long die hards! The ones who sacrifice so much time and hard-earned money season after season in support of their favorite team. To now have to sit by and watch that team be portrayed in such a negative light must be excruciating. The name is more a product of ignorance than of racism or malicious intent, but the franchise is still accountable, and the fans will ultimately suffer for it. Eventually the name must be changed to something more appropriate. Wasington Pigskins maybe? The "D.C. Reds"? Call em The Hogs? Probably all terrible suggestions, but at this point any name would be better than the one Washington's football team is currently using.