The Washington Redskins Will Change the Racist Team Name

Published on July 13, 2020

Well, after bad news after bad news in 2020, it’s refreshing to get some good news every once in a while: The Washington Redskins are finally changing their racist team name. It’s a small sign of progress, plus a nice loss for the team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, who never wanted to change the team name. “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER,” Snyder once said. “You can use caps.” How wrong he was.

Good News

Today, the team officially announced they were changing the name, albeit only after Nike stopped selling their merch, advertisers threatened to pull money, and the city of Washington said they wouldn’t allow the team to play in the city if changes weren’t made. Snyder’s hand was forced to do the right thing. 

The decision also comes after the league asked for the racist team name to be scrubbed from websites and elsewhere. The horrible team name was started in 1933 by owner George Preston Marshall. After years and years of criticisms and Native American groups calling for change, it has finally happened. The logo is going out the door with the name, too. 

Statement From the Organization 

“Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review. Dan Snyder and Coach [Ron] Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition-rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.”

The Right Call

It’s a terrible team name that many, many football fans wouldn’t even speak the name. In Washington D.C., fans generally called the team “the skins.” Ray Halbritter, a rep for the Oneida Nation and head of the Change the Mascot campaign, called it “a new chapter for the NFL and Washington Organization”: 

“The NFL and Dan Snyder have finally made the right call and Change the Mascot commends them for it. This is a good decision for the country — not just Native peoples — since it closes a painful chapter of denigration and disrespect toward Native Americans and other people of color. Future generations of Native youth will no longer be subjected to this offensive and harmful slur every Sunday during football season.

We have made clear from the start that this movement was never about political correctness, but seeking to prevent unnecessary harm to our youth, since we know from social scientists the many harmful effects this mascot has had on Native Americans’ self-image. Today marks the start of a new chapter for the NFL and the Washington franchise, beginning a new legacy that can be more inclusive for fans of all backgrounds.”

Good Riddance

The Washington D.C. football team will keep their iconic red and gold colors, that will not change. It’s a new chapter for the football team, which they seriously need. The team has been a real joke in Washington and elsewhere these last few years under the ownership of Daniel Snyder. 

Remember the rise and fall of RG III? It was typical for the ‘skins. They’re a terrible organization even when they have talent on the field. Maybe with a new name and image, the team will get stronger. Plus, Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers is now their coach. That is a sign of good things to come, maybe. The ‘skins may not be the last team to change their name, either. The Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves and possibly, the Gold State Warriors, may make similar changes one day. 

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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