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The Washington Redskin’s controversy

June 29, 2014
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

As most readers know, I don't usually get involved in controversies, be they local or national. Why? Mostly because I'm not that well informed to make a rational, objective and intelligent opinion. However, I'm gonna forgo all those reasons and jump right into this controversy. Just for the heck of it.

Over the past several years, professional as well as college sports nicknames have been challenged as perhaps being mean-spirited or offensive to certain races, creeds or religions. The main target presently is the Washington Redskins. Some Native Americans are crying "foul" and wanting the Washington professional football team to change it's nickname to something less offensive. Opinions over this are flyin' all over the place and it'll be quite interesting how it all pans out in the next year or so.

Now, I have absolutely no reason to have an opinion about this. I am neither a Native American, (who actually are the only ones who's opinion should matter), or a Washington Redskin fan or anything else. But that doesn't stop me from opining on the subject. Team owner Dan Snyder released a letter on Oct. 9 to season-ticket holders to address the controversy and increased criticism.

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As some of you may know, our team began 81 years ago in 1932 with the name Boston Braves. The following year, the franchise name was changed to the Boston Redskins. On that inaugural Redskins team, four players and our head coach were Native Americans. The name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor. I thought this interesting.

Ok, here are my questions:

I can understand Native Americans finding this term offensive. But how many are offended and what about the Native Americans who are NOT offended? If one person is offended, is that enough to make the name change? How about ten? 50?

What's offensive to one may not be offensive to another? Animal Rights people might not like nicknames like Cougars, Panthers, Tigers, Bulldogs, Fightin' Camels, Fightin' Squirrels, Fightin' Bees, etc. Which are all real nicknames of schools across the country.

This leads to the next question; where do we stop? Or do we stop? What about the Cleveland Indians or the Kansas City Chiefs? Could these also be offensive? Then there's the Bloomfield Deacons? Should deacons everywhere cry, "foul?" Central College are called the "Dutch." Then there's the "Blue Demons" and the "Blue Devils." Who wants to be associated with the Prince of Darkness?

There's also nicknames like the "Hustlin' Quakers; Fightin' Souix; Battlin' Bishops" and what about the Drexel Dragons? Not at all offensive to me, but to someone? Maybe, maybe not! Like I said at the beginning, only those directly involved should have a say in the matter and if a nickname such as "Redskin" is offensive, than get rid of it. But who decides and who's next? If you think about it, everything and anything can and probably is offensive to someone. Heck, even Deb has said once or twice that "I can be offensive." Can you believe that?

But here's the way I see it; The way politics are anymore, I'm more offended at the name "Washington" than at the word "Redskin." Let's drop Washington from the team logo. And finally, "Can we ever reach a point in society today that we are 100% politically correct in every part of society?"

Let me know what you think at jsheda@indytel.com or call me at 319-327-4640. Love to hear your thoughts.

And finally, would any self-respecting southerner ever play baseball for the New York Yankees? A Yankee?

 
 

 

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