The case for changing the Washington Redskins' team name is solid. The bottom line is the name "Redskins" is racist, no matter how you slice it. You can spin it. You can say that it "honors" Native Americans. You can dispute the definition of the word. But you would be on the wrong side of the debate.
"Redskins" is racist, period.
I was browsing online Wednesday when I came across a clip from Keith Olbermann's show. Olbermann, who shares the opinion that the team name is racist, covered a story making the rounds Tuesday about Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder launching an organization, the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, which aims to assist Native American tribes.
But it was Snyder's letter posted on the Redskins' website this week that drew more attention from Olbermann. He pointed out that he used the words "Native Americans," "tribes" or "tribal" a total of 31 times before he asked a question that, by itself, makes the best case for changing the Washington NFL team's name.
"If his team nickname really isn't an offensive, racist term. If as he claims, it's a point of pride among Native American tribes, how come not once in this letter does Dan Snyder actually refer to actual Native Americans as 'redskins?'"
That's a great question for defenders of the Washington team name. If it's not an offensive term, why isn't it widely used today? Why do we say and write "Indian" or "Native American" when we could use "redskin?" If it's not derogatory, as Snyder and backers suggest, why not use it?
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Of course, we all know why. Oxford Dictionaries labels "redskin" as a dated, offensive word. Merriam-Webster says "redskin" is usually offensive.
It's time for the Washington Redskins to change their team name. If the NFL is serious about addressing racial slurs on the field, the league should also address the slur that has been a franchise team name for decades.
Snyder has taken steps to improve relations with Native Americans. He should take a major step and launch a process to rename Washington's NFL team.
That's what needs to be done here. The foundation is fine. Meeting with Native American leaders is a good thing. But changing the name should be the goal.