The other day on the nightly news they were discussing how a certain group of people were protesting the name of the Washington Redskins. Those of you who may not know, the name of the team is actually linked with a sordid history, stemming back from certain groups using it to describe themselves to early settlers. Then the settlers took this term on and used it in a derogatory sense toward anyone who is of Native American heritage.
There has been great debate over the years of professional sports teams taking on the name of a Native American culture. As a child this was not something I thought about, but merely saw it as an iconic logo describing 9 men when I came across a team in my baseball cards. I did not think about how the name itself is like making fun of someone for no reason at all.
As an adult though, there is a certain awareness that comes with being educated on people and how they wish to be treated. Having a team named after someone who is like you, in a way is like being bullied. It’s like the episode of Friends when Monica tries her best to put herself in a good light by catering a dinner for her family. It was her chance to rewrite her history. Instead when a blunder happened her family dubbed it, “Pulling a Monica”. Even though this example is trivial, it goes to show how even using your own name as a way to tease and taunt can become a weapon, even if it is meant in fun, the antagonist is unaware of the power of their words.
What bothered me even more during the segment featured on the news, was an interview with a former football player. The man they interviewed used to play for the Washington football team, has his own radio show and happens to be African American. He felt as if people were talking too much about this issue of the team’s name being racist because they had nothing else to talk about. Fair enough, he has the freedom of speech to express his opinion, but it bothered me some one who is of ethnicity had the audacity to lack sensitivity to the subject, considering he surely has confronted some adversity growing up as an African American man.
The group who is raising awareness about the offensive name simply just wants the name changed along with the logo.
Here is my proposal. The owner of the team has an open forum where the offended group can suggest and register names for the team within a given set of time; say 3 months. Once all of the names have been collected, they are put on a website where everyone can vote on their favorite name. Problem solved, the team has a slew of new merchandise to promote, everyone feels included in the choosing of the name thus they want a piece of the history and purchase memorabilia as well. Again it is just an idea.
How about this, to all my readers out there, put a suggestion in the comments section of what you think the Washington team’s new name should be! My current suggestion, maybe the name should have something to do with Washington being solidified in the history of Rock music? Maybe they should have a name paying tribute to the many coffee shops thriving in it’s region? Maybe Starbucks could purchase the team, change their logo to a buck drinking a hot mug of coffee while scoring a touchdown? (Hence the name Star-buck.) The possibilities are endless! What can you come up with?