“Nicknames–How Do You Feel About Your Team”
Hail to the Redskins will no longer be their fight song.
The Indian head logo on the burgundy helmet is gone.
So is the nickname Redskins…the name the team had for 87-years.
Washington’s NFL, known by that name since 1932, when they were the Boston Redskins, will announce a new name and a new logo within the next two weeks.
Sammy Baugh, a Cherokee Indian, quarterbacked them. So did Eddie LeBaron, the 5’5 signal caller known as the Chiefs. So did John Riggins, who had part-Indian blood in his family.
Decades of pressure and criticism led to owner Daniel Snyder making the move. Pushed not by just public criticism, but by the threat of all his corporate sponsors, they would cancel their contracts.
Shoved to the brink of losing out on a land deal, whereby he could have built a new stadium for the team on the original sight of RFK Stadium.
Beyond what is going on at Pennsylvania Avenue, the cross fire of criticism was fierce at the Redskins headquarters.
The civic drive led by the Mayor’s office, and the D-C City Council on land usage, hit Snyder between the eyes. The pressure of Maryland’s governor to evict the team from its home stadium, hit home. No new land for a stadium without a name change.
The crush from Fed X, which had a 208M-sponsorship deal with the franchise, led to a cascade of threats from virtually every other sponsor. The revenue streams would be gone if they took the field with the same name.
The team has been a miserable failure on the field under Snyder’s regime. Its players are very popular though. The team used to draw 92,000 fans a game. It’s financial success is legendary.
But no more.
The civil unrest across the District, and what has happened across America, staggered the franchise.
This is a Redskins team once owned by a deep-south racist, George Preston Marshall. It was the last team to employ black players, waiting till the mid 60s, when they traded for Bobby Mitchell, the superb running back-receiver of the Browns.
It was a team that won a Super Bowl with a black quarterback in Doug Williams. It has Hall of Famers like Art Monk and Darrell Green, both African American icons.
Last month, Snyder took down a monument to the previous owner, then the family asked his name be removed from the Ring of Honor and Hall of Fame.
But now the change is complete. The Redskins have been eradicated. Next up are targets like the Kansas City Chiefs, the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves in baseball, the Chicago Blackhawks in hockey.
I think you have to take each nickname, each logo on an individual basis.
Washington honored the name and the logo with respect to the tribes of America. The team logo is a takeoff of the Indian head logo on our American nickel. Will we do away with coins next?
I thought the name and that logo respected Native Americans.
In baseball, the Cleveland Indians have existed since 1905. Under enormous pressure a couple of years ago, the Tribe got rid of its popular logo ‘Chief Wahoo’ on the team jersey and hats. And yet many felt the smiling Chief logo was that of an Indian, happy to play baseball. The first star of Indians baseball was a Native American. the first black in the American League, was Larry Doby, an Indians player too.
In Atlanta, the Braves name goes all the way back to their days as the Boston Braves in the late 1940s, thru the move to Milwaukee, before the shift to the deep south. The crest of the uniform is a Tomahawk. So is the chant. The Braves did remove the Indian head logo they used, and the war bonnet logo they used, a decade ago. But there is proud tradition in the name. Baseball’s great home run hitter Henry Aaron war the logo proudly as a black man too.
The Kansas Chiefs name, and logo, the arrowhead on the helmet, depict the proud warrior status of the franchise. Will Kansas City ban the tomahawk chop at Arrowhead Stadium?
The movement to show respect began three decades ago, with the push to rid college teams of their names and to re-image the logos.
Syracuse Orangemen became the Syracuse Orange. The warring and embarrassing look indian logo was removed for a ‘Block S’.
Miami of Ohio’s Redskins became the Red Hawks, and the tomahawk was deleted as its logo.
Eastern Michigan’s Hurons, named for the tribe in the Great Lakes, became the Eagles.
Ages ago, the Stanford Indians became the Stanford Cardinal, with a tree becoming the logo-linking it with the nickname of the campus, the farm.
William & Mary’s Indians became the Tribe, its war bonnet feather logo removed.
North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux, a hockey power, became the Hawks and a snazzy Sioux headgear logo was eliminated.
Dartmouth’s proud tradition of the name Indians, disappeared years ago, replaced by Big Green, the school colors.
The St John’s Redmen basketball team rid itself of its heritage name.
So did the Marquette Warriors.
It is odd, all those teams had names representing pride and honor. Some of the schools needed a logo update. Instead they all caved in under pressure.
For all the money spent on lawyers fees to force the issue, you’d think the money would have been better spent to help with health care programs, education, job training and rehab centers on the Indian reservations around the nation to aid its struggling population base.
We live in a very different time. A politically correct time.
Maybe I am old-school. Maybe you think its racist. Maybe it’s over-reaction and wasted energy.
The Washington Post did a survey of Native American tribes, and 90-percent of them had no problem with the name, just 6-years ago. Now everyone-everywhere has problems with names, statues and monuments in America.
Wishing instead of changing names of popular teams, we could instead eradicate the “N” word, White power Neo-Nazis, and dirty cops instead.