Stay the same: 'Redskins' meant to honor
The rift between the National Football League's Washington Redskins and several Native American groups has recently raised questions on the offensiveness of some sports mascots.
For as long as sports teams have existed, they have identified themselves by a nickname chosen by owners and organizations. Santa Monica College sports teams are identified as Corsairs for the men and Lady Corsairs for the women.
But the claims of racism and insensitivity toward the Redskins for their use of a nickname that refers to Native American tribes have brought up the question of whether or not sports organizations should be allowed to name themselves after any race, ethnicity or culture.
The Redskins are not the only team to utilize a racial alias. The Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball is another team whose nickname has sparked protest from Native American tribes.
Other rather unnoticed teams include the University of Notre Dame, whose nickname "The Fighting Irish" portrays an angry leprechaun on a mission to fight, and San Diego State University, whose nickname is the Aztecs.
The Native American nicknames have been called offensive, racist, derogatory, and demeaning by groups advocating for a change of name.
In order to avoid these kinds of predicaments, new sports teams should no longer name themselves after anything that comes remotely close to resembling a race, culture, or ethnicity. The backlash is too great, and the controversy is unavoidable.
Whether they are honoring a proud culture and tradition, or whether they are deliberately degrading certain groups, these kinds of names seem to do nothing but cause chaos.
However, the battle between Native American groups and the Redskins organization has become pointless.
I am all for people who want to stand up for what they believe in and defend their cultural values, but this never-ending saga lacks a key ingredient that neither side has — proof that the other side is right.
Groups against these kinds of names feel that the names are a mockery to proud traditions and cultures. The fact that certain sports teams are nicknamed after animals only adds fuel to the fire. Between the NFL, MLB, National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League, 39 teams are nicknamed after a kind of animal.
Some of these teams represent animals who are fierce, savage, blood-thirsty fiends, and when a racial or ethnic group becomes associated with these creatures, it is understandable that it might rub them the wrong way.
Others, such as Redskins owner Dan Snyder, feel that these names bring honor and spirit to such groups.
In a letter to Redskins fans, Snyder claims that the nickname is meant as a "badge of honor" and that it was "never a label."
After all is said and done, the matter withstands that there is no proof on whether either side is telling the truth.
Snyder could simply be trying to save his organization’s image, or his feelings for the nickname could be legitimate.
Groups against the allegedly derogatory nicknames could be correct in their claims of racism, or they could just be wasting their breath on a foundation that might not be anywhere near what it is made out to be.
It is, however, hard to sympathize with the offended groups because although the offense has a basis for doubt, there is no logical reason for why the offense is being voiced 80 years after the team was founded.
According to the official website of the Washington Redskins, the team was founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves and changed its name to the Redskins in 1933, only one year later.
Eighty years of being the Redskins, and now groups are voicing their concerns?
The Washington Redskins should absolutely keep their nickname in place. There is no reason that why, after all this time, the team should suddenly give up its tradition and identity.
The Washington organization did not name its team after a pack of wild dogs, and the name was not decided recently. For eight decades, the name has been associated with warriors who give their blood, sweat and tears.
If there is no honor in that, then each group must seriously take a step back to figure out what they are trying to sell.
Until then, groups against the name should take another route in figuring out just why the nickname is suddenly so wrong.