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Washington Redskins

by Craig Mattick

There has been some debate recently on the nickname for the NFL team in Washington.

The Washington Redskins.  How did the Redskins get their name?

The Boston Braves were playing football back in the early 1930's.  They played at Braves Field, which was the home of the Boston Braves baseball team.  In 1933, the Boston Braves football team then moved to Fenway Park in Boston, which was the home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team.  The owners of the football team then changed their mascot to the Boston Redskins.  The Boston Redskins then moved to Washington, D.C. in 1937.  

There has been movements by groups to change the name over the years.  In 2004, a poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found 91% of the American Indians surveyed in the lower 48 states found the nickname, Redskins, acceptable.  

If American Indians don't have a problem with it, why should the rest of us care?  If American Indian tribes aren't suing to get Indian mascot names changed, why should the rest of care?  You would think if American Indian tribes really wanted the Washington Redskins to change the name, they would be suing in court and be involved with a huge public relations campaign to get it done.

There has been a movement over the years, mainly by non-American Indian groups, to have Indian mascots removed from high school, college and pro teams.  The pressure has come from non-American Indian groups, not necessarily from the tribes themselves.

Over the years, there have been a number of nicknames centered around Native Americans that have been changed by non-Indian , like the Braves, Warriors, Redmen, Indians.  

In pro sports, we still have the MLB Cleveland Indians & Atlanta Braves, NFL Washington Redskins & Kansas City Chiefs, NHL Chicago Blackhawks and the NBA Golden State Warriors.

I believe we have the Indian mascots to honor the Native Americans.  We should respect the name, unless those in the tribes have a problem with it.  

I don't need the US Government or the NCAA telling me what is an appropriate nickname.   But, if there are tribes who oppose a certain nickname, it should be respectfully removed.  Whether you like it or not, there isn't a large movement from American Indians to change the Redskins name .