As some of you know, there’s been a certain amount of controversy regarding the name of Washington D.C’s football team for a while. Recently, the push to change the name gained some traction when their federal trademarks were cancelled, although that case is out on appeal. Through this all, the team’s organization (and particularly their owner, Dan Snyder) have refused to even allow for the possibility that some might find the team name offensive. Their latest strategy is to make a video featuring Native Americans stating 1. That the name doesn’t bother them 2. That the name isn’t the biggest issue facing the Native community today, and 3. It’s not Natives who want the name changed.
See for yourself:
Now, I don’t think anyone is arguing that sports mascots are the biggest issue facing the Native community today. Interestingly, the website “Redskins Facts” makes a big deal about this particular argument. So I assumed they would have some way to support Native communities as a show of goodwill. Incorrect! The “Show Your Support” tab leads to a form to fill out to say you support the name of the team, not ways to help impoverished Native communities. This seems tone-deaf at best and deliberately cruel at worst. They’re asking these people to support their right to a name and a mascot, but then shrug their shoulders at the other, worse problems once the soundbite is completed.
All in all, the “Redskins Facts” site looks like another set of excuses for an organization that’s finally beginning to realize that the tide of public opinion may be turning against them. Lets hope they get the message sooner rather than later.