Washington Redskins fans, more than ever, should be excited about the upcoming season. Although Robert Griffin III ended the season on an unfortunate ACL tear, his recent jumping jacks performance for fans at the team’s Draft Day Party should serve as indication that come September, he’ll be full steam.
Yet, even though we’re only a short time away from the start of the regular season, the Redskins are making headlines for other reasons. And it has nothing to do with football.
There’s recently been intense pressure from social activists and even D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray as well as local politicians calling for the Redskins to change their name.
Their nickname is considered, by some, to be racist and politically incorrect.
In an effort to force the team to reconsider their plans, Gray proposed that if the Redskins do not change their name, they will not be able to locate a new home for the team within the city’s limits.
“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, and of course the team is going to have to work with us around this issue,” Gray told the Washington Post. “I think it has become a lightning rod, and I would love to be able to sit down with the team…and see if a change should be made.”
D.C. Council member David Grosso also publicly criticized the team’s name. In a publicly addressed memo, Grosso mentioned that the team’s name is “racist and derogatory and must be changed.” He also assured that the word “Redskin” is “dishonoring Washington’s name by association.”
And yet although the heightened interest, many Redskins supporters feel that there’s no reason to change the name at all. They argue that if the name does change, it will destroy the team’s heritage and history.
In a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press, four out of five Americans still believe that Redskins should keep their name. In fact, only 11 percent of total participants felt the name needed to be changed.
Owner Dan Snyder has already addressed the situation by assuring that he has no reason, nor obligation to change the team’s name. But if the heightened pressure from outside sources continues, he may be forced to coincide with opposition.
USA Today reports that a proposed name-change to the “Redtails” to honor the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II would suffice.