Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Washington D.C. Council Wants to Trade Redskins for Redtails

"Hail to the Redtails...." It just doesn't have the same ring, does it?  If Washington D.C. council member David Grosso gets his way, the Washington Redskins will become the "Redtails," a nickname once given to the prestigious Tuskegee Airmen.
It's been a long time that we’ve had this name associated with Washington, and I think its time we take a stand and change it,” Grosso said.
Washington has been under significant outside pressure to change their "Redskins" moniker since a late playoff run pushed the team in to the national spotlight.  Law-makers, interest groups, and others have been lobbying for the team to make a switch for years but the cause has seemingly picked up traction over the past year.
Even D.C. mayor Vincent Gray has voiced concerns over the issue, and sees a potential roadblock in the team moving back to Washington D.C. from its current location in Landover, Maryland:
I think that if they get serious with the team coming back to Washington, there’s no doubt there’s going to have to be a discussion about that,” he said after a news conference, “and of course the team is going to have to work with us around that issue.”
Redskins owner Dan Snyder hasn't shown any signs of political pressure forcing him to change his stance and why should he?  He's spent millions of dollars building a household brand that has seen an explosion with Robert Griffin III becoming the face of the franchise.  The shear dollar amount of such a process would be astounding, not to mention alienating a rabid fan base that has spent years rooting for their beloved Redskins.

The term "redskin" has many theories on it's initial usage.  Some claim that it was simply a physical descriptor that the Native American's themselves used to distinguish themselves among an ever-growing Caucasian population.  Others claim it was a derogatory term used by the English, specifically King George II, who promised monetary reward for the scalps of capture Indians.  However, there is no physical evidence that the word used in those instances was "redskin," and is often claimed as "revisionist history" by historians.

It's of my opinion that the NFL franchise has done more to help preserve the legacy of the American Indian than conjure up images of the savage attacks cast on the people group.  While I certainly won't argue that a black-eye lingers over the treatment of Native Americans in our great country - I also don't believe that donning the Indian headdress doesn't have racist undertones.  The Redskins franchise has created fond memories for millions of fans, spanning multiple generations, and has cemented their place in NFL lore.  It would be an absolute shame to erase that from the history books, the hearts and minds of countless millions, and the players that have represented the franchise over the years.

There is by no-means a disrespect meant to those that come from a Native American heritage.  I believe the Redskins name is more about honoring those who came before you and what they stood for.  That's something I hope we can all get behind.

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