By Rhyan Henson
It would be hypocritical and irresponsible for the National Football League not to change the name of the Washington Redskins.
With the NFL’s anti-bullying initiative, this problem should have been a top priority for the league because of the severity and widespread impact it has.
Riley Cooper, a Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, kicked off this year by being recorded on camera saying a racial slur at a country music concert. Although the NFL did not suspend him.
Earlier this month, Miami guard Richie Incognito was exposed on a voicemail verbally assaulting an African-American teammate and using the n-word. The NFL has a pending investigation into the matter.
If the league feels it has a right to get upset about these racial epithets and acts of bullying, they must take action on the most egregious racial slur being used in professional football: the Redskins.
The name of the Washington D.C., team is not a nickname among its fan base. It is the official name of the team that is recognized by the league.
It is not bad the team is using a Native American moniker for the team name. The Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Seminoles both use Native American heritage and symbols as their mascots. Although the mascot is now banned, Chief Illiniwek from the University of Illinois at Champaign- Urbana represented Indians in a positive light. Never did Illinois use the heritage with negative connotations.
In a 2004 poll, CBS found that 90 percent of Native Americans did not have a problem with the name Redskins. CBS did, however, denote that many question if the respondents who marked they were Native American were in fact Native American.
Regardless of however many Native Americans have a problem with the current name, if 10 percent feel the need for a change then a change is needed.
The Oneida Indian Nation is the tribe leading the fight against the football team. There are only 900 citizens in the tribe, according to The Washington Post. But, if this minority takes offense and sees fit to take the team to task in order to get the name changed, then the NFL should back it.
Although there is good reason for the name change, change will not come easily.
“We will never change the name,” Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins said in an interview with USA Today in May. “It is that simple. ”
Fiddling with tradition and history in sports is a very touchy subject and in most cases the wrong thing to do. Unless absolutely necessary, those long standing traditions should be left alone.
With that said, what is wrong is wrong.
The fans of the game should demand all athletic leagues, teams, players and fans respect their surroundings and be sensitive to those with different cultural backgrounds.