The American Indian war

The battle over the logo of the Washington Redskins has D.C. and the rest of the country choosing sides.


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Does the term RESKINS really threaten people?

For any of you who have popped your head into the sports world lately, you’ve probably heard about the ongoing controversy of the Washington Redskins. They have been butting heads with the Native American community on the use of their mascot.

In the past few years the Washington Redskins organization has been heavily pressured into changing the name of their mascot. In 2009, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a ruling that ended a 17 year battle between the Redskins and a Native American activist.

Since 1967, activists have been arguing that Washington’s mascot was so offensive towards them that they should not receive trademark protection. The Redskins ended up winning this case because of the “legal theory of laches.”  The plaintiffs waited too long to file their lawsuit to ban the trademark. Even though the Redskins ended up winning they haven’t heard the end of this ongoing controversy.

Although this seems to be a big deal to some, it’s interesting to see how divided the Native American community is on this issue. In a poll commissioned by the Oneida Indian Nation, 59% of respondents said that Native Americans have a right to feel offended, leaving roughly 40% on the opposing side.

Jason Begay, a Navajo who’s an assistant professor and director of the Native American Journalism Project at the University of Montana said, “After 500 years, it’s pretty unbelievable that this issue is at the forefront right now. Even in the last 50 years (of the civil rights movements), we learned so much. It’s just ridiculous that this is an issue.”

But the Native Americans aren’t the only ones to speak out on this matter. Jewish American radio host Howard Stern felt very strong about this matter saying ,“it’s so offensive. And that logo with that big Redskin. Just change the name. Home of the free, land of the brave, meanwhile we came over to this country, stole their land…….and killed them all. So give them a bone and change the name already.”

Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys had a few things to say about the stubborn Washington Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder, telling The Jewish Dailey Forward, “It would be a real mistake – a real mistake – to think that Dan, who is Jewish, has a lack of sensitivity regarding somebody’s feelings. I promise you that.”

With the Redskins being located in America’s capital city, Washington D.C. , President Obama stuck his two cents in on the matter telling the Chicago Tribune, “If I were the owner of the team and I knew that the name of my team- even if they’ve had a storied history- was offending a sizable group of people. I’d think about changing it.”

Obama, an avid sports fan said he doesn’t think Washington football fans are purposely trying to offend American Indians. Although Obama respects the love the fans have for their team, he also took notice on how the Indians feel about the team saying they “feel pretty strongly” about mascots that depict negative stereotypes and their heritage.

All in all Snyder will continue to be stubborn about the name. If the franchise name ever does get changed it will be by force. Some may look at this controversy as a sign of disrespect and others may look at it as a sign of honor. This topic will always have both sides butting heads on what the mascot represents. But no matter what it means, it’s used in a game that is meant for entertainment and is used to represent an NFL franchise.