What's in a name?

The topic has come up in the media again, focusing on having the NFL Washington franchise rename themselves. I can see where their current name would be offensive to any North American First Nations people. Should Washington be singled out though? I have read, just today, that some would like the Edmonton Eskimos to also consider a name change. What about other professional (an even amateur) teams such as the Cleveland Indians, the Kansas City Chiefs or the Chicago Blackhawks (they may only have to change logos to a black hawk bird)? As an example, just recently the Bedford Road Highschool in Saskatoon changed the name of its teams to Red Hawks from Redmen. This was very well received and supported. What are your thoughts?

The only people who should have a say in the matter are native Americans. If they are not offended by the name, why are non-natives making a big deal of it?

My mother-in-law and her family are natives, and I've asked them about this subject. They agree, if the name isn't done in a mockingly way, it's not insulting. Eskimos, redskins, Indians, chiefs, etc, are done referencing natives as a warrior people.

So I ask, who are these people taking offense to the names of these teams? Non-natives going on a crusade for political correctness.

Good questions Drummer. I have no dog in this this race and am just sitting back watching and wondering what will become of it all. Is it really a big deal or is it something only a vocal few are promoting?

The Redskins thing has been going on for years, but I'm really starting to see the same thing happening for Eskimos now.

Because the Redskins lost the trademark protection recently, people perceive it as a bigger deal than it is. So now they're starting to ask the question as to whether it's time for Edmonton to change theirs. Strombo was kind enough to toss it out there on Twitter.

I've been following the Redskins for years and have heard this debate up and down. What I've come cross is that the first known usage of the word "redskin" is by natives themselves, and that the logo was designed ans suggested by the chairman of the Blackfeet Nation in the late 60's (IIRC).

It's all about the context. No team has ever named itself after something it hates and disrespects. If someone is offended by it, it seems to me that it's on them. As a kid living in a predominantly English community, I got called a frog because I'm French. Doesn't mean that Kermit is an offensive symbol or that Jim Henson is a racist. :roll:

Still...The Redskins will ultimately "lose" this by people claiming the moral high ground no matter how factually incorrect those people are.

I agree with Drummer. I always thought these names were in tribute of the natives and in no way derogatory. The Blackhawks logo is one of the best in sports. I have Irish ancestry. Should I be upset with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish ? Some people have too much time on their hands :roll:

Oxford Dictionary deems “redskin? to be “dated or offensive.? Dictionary.com says the word is “often disparaging.? Merriam-Webster says the term is “usually offensive.?

That's good enough for me. Change the name.

The other team names like Indians, Chiefs, Blackhawks - those terms as far as I know are not deemed to be offensive.

Sure people can site that at some point in history 'Redskins' was a neutral term - but it hasn't in common language use for a very long time. The 'N' word when first coined was a neutral word - not derogatory. Would it be right for any team to call themselves the 'N.....s' now and justify it by saying it was a neutral word once and a black man designed our logo?

I didn't think so.

I agree, it's a sports name and it was never meant to be derogatory to a people. The mascot of the "fighting Irish" a drunken Irishman with his fists up? It seems strange that after a hundred years or so that all of a sudden in this era of "political correctness" people decide that now we have to change it. The Nepean Redskins changed their name last year because a couple of people that were probably not sports fans objected to that name.
How about the Atlanta Braves and their fans that wave the Tomahawks and take up that chant.
The owners of the Ottawa basketball franchise wanted to call the team the "Tomahawks" - wow - a lot of people were outraged, another slight against Natives. Yet the Tomahawk was a weapon, just like an Arrow or a Rifle. Would anyone protest at the name "The Rifles" or "The Arrows"? it is getting ridiculous.

The difference is that the term Redskins does have derogatory interpretations and those interpretations were primarily negative and derogatory even when the team was named.

The term 'redskin' was used to describe scalps of killed Indians as far back as 1863 publications when $200 rewards were offered for every 'red skin'.

A linguistic analysis of 42 books published between 1875 and 1930 shows that negative contexts in the use of redskin were significantly more frequent than positive usage

So I go back to my N word comparison. It was a neutral word. It is a word blacks themselves use now in slang street talk - yet would anybody defend its use as correct for a team name? Take the high road - change the name.

And yes this has become a trendy cause to support as of late in the mainstream media and among the academic community but out of the national media spotlight native groups have been asking for a name change for over 30 years because they find it offensive.

Political correctness and lobbyist groups run amuck,I'm sick of it :thdn: IMO you can take them both and stick them right where the sun don't shine.If these groups had their way eventually we would have no nicknames for any teams,period!!!! It would be like soccer where it seems like every team is simply called F.C. :thdn: if you let these knuckleheads get their way you would probably have the CFL on TSN Friday night football game of the week....the Saskatchewan FC vs the Hamilton FC :roll: because we can't offend anybody!!!! Give me a break,utterly ridiculous as far as I'm concerned :stuck_out_tongue:


It's a neutral term when the football team uses it. Clearly, there intention wasn't to offend in the 30's and there's nothing to suggest that it is now. for that matter, there's nothing to even suggest that it offends a significant portion of the group said to be offended by it.

As far as the n-word, I would ask you to consider why it never even came close to being the name of a sports team, while teams in several sports at many levels have used Redskins and all the other variations of native-based names. It is every much because they respected that people when those names were selected.

There are definitions of Canuck that indentify it as potentially offensive. That alone doesn't cause me to want it eliminated. I'll judge if someone is out to offend me by context and tone, instead.

And yet they are challenged as well.

If someone finds the Redskin name derogatory and it was a slight years ago, then I can understand changing it. I myself don't find it offensive any more than if a Native calls me a Whiteman. Don't bother me at all. Maybe have a good laugh. 'Thinskins' is what we should call the complainers......... Pontiac cars gotta go. Pontiac Parisienne pisses off two groups with one swipe.

If the term is so offensive, why are there Native American schools that call their sports teams "Redskins"?
(i.e. Red Mesa Redskins)


the natives in my family often reference their red skin colour. they also refer to whites as whites, blacks as blacks, etc....
they don't think it's a big deal.

non-natives who take offense to the name 'redskins' have to find something to fill their time.

Literally thousands of other sports teams worldwide manage to come up with names that are not considered racist by a significant portion of the group their team name supposedly represents. Native groups have been asking for a name change for over 30 years because a significant number of THEM find the name derogatory and insulting.

We are only hearing more about it now in the case of the Redskins because politicians and the media and academics have now taken up the cause that local native groups in Washington have been battling for over 30 years. They feel it insults them. So sure I can be critical of jump on the bandwagon politicians but I find it hard to be critical of - or disagree with the native groups that have been fighting this battle for over 30 years.

If anybody is to know whether or not the term redskin is derogatory or not - IT IS THEM - not me - and not Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

This is totally different from situations like that of the Chicago Blackhawks who through outreach to the Native American community are partners with the American Indian Center in Chicago and honour members of the Shawnee tribe at games. And it is why legal experts say the trade mark ruling regarding the Redskins is unlikely to have a domino effect on teams with names like Braves, Indians or Chiefs because 'the Redskins name is uniquely a disparaging racial slur,?

Totally agree, problem is that it is highly charged issue by some Native Americans such as Amanda Blackhorse, Marcus Briggs-Cloud, Philip Gover, Jillian Pappan and Courtney Tsotigh. So the question is...is this the voice of many or the voice of a few?

He/she who screams the loudest on matters of public opinion generally wins in time. With their trademark patent being revoked and a growing list of high profile backers, the name will likely be changed in the near future.

I do agree with others as well...if this is offiensive, how can several others not be deemed so as well? None of these seem, to me at least, as a slap in the face of a demographic. Yeah...I get that you can't call somene a redskin, but you also can't call them an indian...it is a Native American.

well be an interestign outcome either way.

Because its only dem white folk dats racists.

So are you saying that if the Redskins start outreach programs and such then it is all good? How is the name "Indians" not equally offensive? Where in society can you get away with calling a Native and Indian? Can you walk up to a native and say "How's it going chief"

It's all in how you want to look at it. Would anyone in modern society name a NEW franchise something like this...no, very unlikely.

the natives in my family refer to themselves as Indians and not native americans.
who am i to argue?