Controversies run rampant in the sporting world. Everyday, there seems to be something new that grabs our attention and leads us toward a heated debate. Still, we expect to be discussing the follies of players and coaches, not whether or not a team’s name is racist. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what is happening in Washington, as more and more people and groups are coming out against the Redskins name.
This Friday, those fighting for a change will take a big leap forward, as Ray Halbritter, representing the Oneida Indian Nation, is set to meet with the United Nation’s Human Rights Office.
“It is extremely encouraging to see people across the country, as well as national and international leaders, recognizing the harmful impacts of using this term that denigrates Native peoples,” said Halbritter.
Though the UN has no means of forcing the Redskins to change their name, by placing the debate on a global platform, the NFL and Dan Snyder, the Redskins’ owner, may be forced to act.
On the other hand, Snyder has already shown his unwillingness to consider a name change:
“I respect the opinions of those who disagree,” Snyder wrote in a letter to his fans. “But we cannot ignore our 81-year history, or the strong feelings of most of our fans as well as Native Americans throughout the country. After 81 years, the team name ‘Redskins’ continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come.”
The fact is that this issue is only going to continue to grow. There is no stopping the wave of criticism that has slowly been growing over the last few years.
As Halbritter said, “This issue is not going away until the offensive name is retired. It’s time for the NFL and Washington’s team to stop profiting from the continued use of a dictionary-defined racial slur and to place themselves on the right side of a history by changing this offensive name.”
We’ve seen plenty of other schools and professional teams change their names over the years for being deemed offensive. If Snyder and the Redskins continue to hold out, the Native American nation will only become angrier. Though, if the discussion keeps expanding, Washington may end up being forced into a name change sooner than later.
Did you here about Fred Davis’ six-game suspension? Read about it here.