The issue of mascots and racism surfaced again this week, and this time it centered in the nation’s capital. Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was defiant on Thursday when he was asked about changing the controversial mascot name of his team. “We’ll never change the name, it’s that simple. Never, you can use caps,” he remarked. Clearly, Snyder has had enough of this debate.
However, this argument isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, it’s been going on for at least a couple of decades. One of the more prominent protests of the mascot name came in 1992 outside the Super Bowl. The Redskins were playing the Buffalo Bills and approximately 2,000 Native Americans showed up and voiced their displeasure. Obviously no changes took place, but the issue was on the national radar for the first time. It’s remained a fringe issue since, but there have been several teams that have changed their names in the interim.
While some people view mascot names such as “Redskins” or “Indians” as a way of paying tribute to the traditions of proud Native Americans, others view them as overtly racist … especially “Redskins.” It’s become such an issue in Washington D.C. that Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray hinted that the team might have to find another place for home games if they wanted to keep the name. While I doubt it comes to that, it does seem only like a matter of time until the Redskins change their name. It might not be until Snyder sells the team years from now, but eventually public pressure will convince them to change their name.
It will be awkward for a while, like when St. John’s went from the Redmen to the Red Storm, but ultimately people will get over it.
B.L. Lippert writes for Rant Sports and can be followed on Twitter @coachlip