Reporting Mary Bubala
WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The controversy over the name of Washington, D.C.’s football team is growing. Now a newspaper in Virginia says it will not print the name Redskins. And several schools in D.C. want to ban team jerseys from their classrooms.
Mary Bubala reports the name has been used for 80 years.
The Washington Redskins have a rich and storied history. But there is a growing call to change the team’s name as many consider the name and mascot on the helmet offensive to Native Americans.
During half time at Sunday night’s bruising loss to Dallas, announcer Bob Costas shared his thoughts about the team’s name.
“It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present day intent,” Costas said.
A newspaper in Virginia is now banning the team’s name from its pages. The Richmond Free Press says it is expunging the nickname of the Washington professional football from its news and editorial columns. The paper says the nickname is insulting to Native Americans, racist and divisive.
The Redskins hold summer training camp in Richmond, Virginia. Owner Dan Snyder vows he’ll never change the team’s name, even as pressure mounts.
In Thursday’s New York Post, the Redskins are compared to the Nazis and the confederate flag as archaic symbols of pride and heritage. But some fans are tired of the debate.
“I think people need to get over it. It’s really just a game,” a Redskins fan said.
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. I’m from Minnesota… Minnesota Vikings. Is that derogatory?” said another.
“I’m 33-years-old and as long as I’ve been here they’ve been the Redskins. And that’s what I see them as,” a fan said.
But there’s a bill in Congress to strip the team of its trademark protection. Congresswoman Donna Edwards, who represents the area, has signed onto it. But is there anything legally that can be done to force a private owner into a name change?
“In the end, it’s going to be economic pressure. Whether it’s trademark, whether it’s stations not being able to use the word on the air. That finally, I think, will force them to see the light,” a man said.
The Oneida Indian Nation is set to meet with the NFL in November to pressure the organization to influence Dan Snyder to change the name.
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