Football heads I want to make it clear that this will be the last time you see me use the word Redskins, as I have been using Washington the past few weeks in support of those wanting to change the name. I normally only cover football but this is related to football so I feel a need to say something about this issue even thought it crosses over into the realm of “political issue.” I want to apologize to my family that lives in the metro D.C. area that will fight you at the drop of a hat for even talking bad about their team. This must be done!
When the issue of the team name came up earlier this season I paid it little attention because I thought it would go away. After it didn’t it began to spark my interest into what the big deal concerning the name was all about. Well, I started listening to talk radio and reading articles covering this issue so I could have a more informed view of the issue at hand . I noticed that most of the views expressed in either form of media was always one-sided and it supported the presenters view only, so I did my own research.
After spending a few weeks researching this issue for myself, I spoke about it briefly in my Week 6 Picks video. I didn’t go into great depth then, but I touched on a few points I felt were important. Being an African-American, I understand what it’s like to have derogatory terms used to describe you or your race of people so I felt compelled to support the efforts of Native Americans on this issue. What I find interest is how people, who are not a member of the effected group will attempt to speak up and say what is or isn’t offensive to that group of people.
With my research here is what I found out and why I’m in support of those wanting the name changed.
- George Preston Marshall acquired the team in 1932 and they were called the Boston Braves. In 1933 he changed the name to the Redskins and in 1937 he moved the team to Washington. At that time, they were the most Southern team in the NFL
- Marshall was the first owner to have a full marching band for his team. Being the Southern most team Marshall made a point of creating a connection with Southern Dixiecrats (Democrats) who were staunch racist. The band, in early years played Dixie. So the phrase that so many fans know today as “Fight For Ol’ D.C.” was originally “Fight For Ol’ Dixie.”
- Marshall was known as a racist himself. He vowed not to integrate his team and was actually the LAST team in ALL PROFESSIONAL SPORTS to do so. Bobby Mitchell was the first African-American player to join the team in 1962. Marshall humiliated Bobby Mitchell by forcing him to sign “Dixie” at the Redskins team luncheon when he first joined the team. Marshall only gave in due to pressure from other owners and the league who were concerned with losing money.
- As mentioned above, the team catered to the feelings and racist ideals of the south. Marshall was the first owner to start a radio network that carried his teams games to his supporting audience throughout the South. Because of his views they built a strong fan base in the south.
- Marshall changed the name of the team to the Redskins in what was said as his way of honoring Native Americans. It was later discovered that William “Lone Star” Dietz their old Native American Head Coach who the team was named after was actually White. Dietz stole the name “Lone Star” and the entire identity of an Indian who died in 1894 so that he could escape the draft so the FBI charged him with identity theft and he spent some time in a Washington State jail. Marshall let Dietz coach the team for two years and had him wear Warpaint and a big headdress on the sidelines. Marshall also used the name as a sly nod to the Northeastern branches of Iroquois tribes who on certain dogwood trees every other winter were known to paint the story of a great hunt.
- The term “Redskin” was once reported as the term Native Americans used to describe themselves from the European foreigners who were forming colonies along the Eastern coast. From information I obtained from the National Museum Of The American Indian, the Natives didn’t originally speak english or use that term, and the term was used by the European foreigners. During the time colonies were set up there were battles between the Natives and the Europeans. The Europeans established bounty hunters, who would go out and hunt Native Americans and kill them. Upon a “kill” that person would be paid a bounty. A certain amount for a male, less for a female and less for a child. To verify a “kill” the bounty hunter had to cut off a piece of the person’s body. They could scalp the person, take an ear, hand or foot. When they went to get paid for the kill, the person who was to pay and verify the kill would look for “Redskin” on the body part they brought back. Hence the foundation of the term.
- You have Native American groups that are on both sides of this issue. You will find those who have issue with the name and those who do not. You will find surveys supporting both sides of this argument as well. I sum them up to Blacks who feel slavery wasn’t a bad thing, and so forth.
I am of the opinion that there isn’t a race of people outside of the Native Americans that can tell them if the term is offensive to them or not. So, to my African-American, White, Hispanic, Asian and any other race friends, family and subscribers I have, be compassionate and support them in this cause.
Now for a moment just imagine if the team was called the Washington:
- Kikes or Hymies. The current owner Daniel Snyder is Jewish.
- Pickaninnys, Niggers
- Chinks, Slant Eyes
- Honkys, Crackers, Peckerwoods
- Paddys, Taigs, Snouts, Huns
- Dagos, Wops
- Sand Jockys
- Beaners, Wetbacks
How fast do you think the name would be changed if these names were used?