The Washington Redskins have just made what I consider to be a shocking announcement.
According to an OFFICIAL announcement from the team itself, the Redskins are currently undergoing a review of the team's name. Now that may sound like the team is merely considering a change in name, however the Redskins have also clarified that they are committed to retiring the Redskins name and the Redskins logo as a part of this review, which means that the Washington Redskins are officially a thing of the past.
The news comes as a drastic change to the stance that Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has taken over the last several years but mounting public pressure to make a change, and more likely increased pressure from the teams sponsors, have led him to change his mind on the issue. I for one find this disappointing as it has always been obvious to me that professional sports franchise that draw upon native american imagery do so in an effort to show strength, something that I believe reflects positively on those communities. In fact there has been support from many native communities regarding names like Braves, used by a Major League Baseball franchise based out of Atlanta, and Indians, famously used by an MLB team out of Cleveland, but there have also been native american communities that have been vocal in their opposition to such names.
The person I feel for the most here is, unsurprisingly, not Dan Synder the owner of the team but rather Walter "Blackie" Wetzel the man who designed the logo all the way back in 1972. Wetzel was a leader in the Blackfeet community and it was Chief Two Guns White Calf that served as his inspiration for the design. Wetzel himself has always expressed great pride at being represented in such a manner, writing in the Washington Post "It made us all so proud to have an Idian on a big-time team. It's only a small group of radicals who oppose those names. Indians are proud of Indians."
Obviously there will be a host of varying opinions on this subject, but the one thing that is certain is that the Redskins are no more.
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