I just want to start this article by saying I’m not going to argue some BS about how the Redskin name is supposed to be a tribute to the native tribes. The Landover based team is not named the Blackhawks, or Utes, or Seminoles, it is a generalized term for a large group of people in the US. My argument is not based on whether this term could be offensive but rather that we have made a mountain out of a mole hill. That no matter how much the small percentage of the USA might find it offensive, for the most part no one even thinks about.
The Redskins are one of the most historic franchises in the NFL. They rank 6th all time in Super Bowl wins and appearances, and are the 3rd most valuable franchise in the NFL. The team name has been a constant since 1933 when the team changed its name from the Braves to avoid being confused with the local Boston Braves baseball team. Since their move to Griffith Stadium in DC in 1937, the once New England has become a Mid-Atlantic staple.
In recent years the Redskins have come under scrutiny from many different groups about changing their name. One of the most notable was led by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism who wrote an open letter to the team president demanding the team name be changed. This was a follow up movement from a 1992 resolution by the Conference of American Rabbis that called for the team to change its name. However, when a sample of Native Americans where asked if they found the name offensive by the Washington Post 89 percent found the name non-offensive. They say the NFL is microcosm of the problems in the US and this couldn’t be more of an example. Small minorities of people, who aren’t even related to the problem, find it offensive and therefore complain the loudest.
American people have the right to vote not just in the polls but with their wallet. Right now the Redskins are one of the most supported teams in the country not just with the amount of fans they have, but the revenues they make ($381 Million in 2012 according to Forbes). If a majority of people in the US found the name offensive they would not purchase the Redskins trademark. This would then force the Redskins to change their name because of the lost revenues. The NFL reluctance to force the Redskins to change means they have also realized this fact. If Americans really found the name offensive they wouldn’t buy RG3 jerseys or HTTR hats in droves.
The Redskins brand has overcome its sub-racist beginnings over the years. Even though there are Native-American overtones throughout the franchise the team has become more than that. For years DC had only the Redskins and a struggling hockey team to cheer for. During this time the Redskins have become a source of pride for us local DC natives. It doesn’t take someone long at FedEx to realize how proud we are of our franchise. And people stop suing Dan Snyder to change the name because it doesn’t belong to him. The name belongs to the city and its people and I’m proud to chant out every Sunday “Hail to the Redskins! Hail Victory! Braves on the Warpath! FIGHT FOR ALL DC!”