Washington Redskins’ Name Review Follows Years of Protest

Written by on July 3, 2020

The Washington Redskins’ announcement Friday that they’d start “an intensive overview of the crew’s identify” is a possible end result to years of protest and defiance over a nickname that many Native Individuals and different advocates for change think about deeply offensive.

A take a look at the historical past of the crew and its identify:

1769 The primary recognized use of the phrase “redskin,” within the papers of Sir William Johnson. The Oxford English Dictionary says the phrase is “incessantly thought of offensive.” Nicknames with references to Native Individuals date to the 1850s in American sports activities.

1932 The Nationwide Soccer League awards a franchise to Boston below an possession group that features George Preston Marshall. The crew is dubbed the Braves, as a result of it performs at Braves Subject, house of baseball’s Boston Braves.

1933 For its second season, the crew strikes to Fenway Park and modifications its nickname to the Redskins. Presumably that is partly to reflect in the popularity of the 2 baseball groups on the town, the Braves and Pink Sox. For a recreation in opposition to the Bears, Marshall tells his gamers to apply face paint.

1936 The Redskins qualify for the championship recreation, however Marshall, sad with the variety of followers at video games in Boston, strikes the sport to the Polo Grounds in New York (the Redskins lose). The subsequent yr he strikes the crew to Washington, the place they hold the Redskins identify.

1968 Actions start to re-examine and maybe change Indian-based nicknames for sports activities groups. Dartmouth college students ask to change its nickname from Indians. Dartmouth drops the identify in 1974, and another faculties comply with.

1991 The Atlanta Braves’ journey to the World Sequence and its followers use of a tomahawk chop gesture brings new attention and criticism to Indian-themed groups. The subsequent yr, with the Redskins and Kansas Metropolis Chiefs below stress, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said: “Within the context of sports activities, these nicknames are extraordinarily constructive. You consider nice gamers and nice rivalries.”

Clyde Bellecourt, a Chippewa who’s govt director of the American Indian Motion, mentioned, “We’re making an attempt to persuade individuals we’re human beings and never mascots.”

1997 Miami of Ohio modifications its nickname from Redskins to Redhawks.

1999 The US Patent and Trademark Workplace guidelines that the nickname “Redskins” is disparaging, and revokes the groups’ logos. However in 2003, the ruling is overturned on appeal.

Additionally in 1999, Daniel Snyder buys the crew. Like his predecessor, Jack Kent Cooke, he resists calls to vary the nickname, as do most of the crew’s followers.

2013 A symposium on the Smithsonian on racial stereotypes in sports activities is essential of the nickname, sparking one other spherical of scrutiny. The crew defends itself in a series of articles on its web site, noting that “many highschool student-athletes have delight in calling themselves Redskins.”

President Obama said, “I don’t know whether or not our attachment to a specific identify ought to override the actual official considerations that individuals have about these items.”

However Commissioner Roger Goodell says the nickname is a “unifying drive that stands for energy, braveness, delight and respect.”

2014 The Patent Workplace once more guidelines to cancel the Redskins’ trademark registrations. In 2017, the Supreme Courtroom rules unanimously that the federal government might not deny a trademark for a probably offensive identify.

Additionally in 2014, the editorial board of The Washington Post joins a number of different newspapers in deciding to not use the identify Redskins, though the paper’s information pages proceed to make use of it. (The Portland Oregonian was one of many first to bar the identify in 1991.)

2019 The Cleveland Indians of Main League Baseball drop their mascot Chief Wahoo, who has been criticized as a racist caricature, however hold their nickname.

2020 A memorial to the previous proprietor Marshall is removed from in entrance of the crew’s previous house, RFK Stadium, by the town of Washington.

Mayor Muriel Bowser mentioned the Redskins nickname was “an impediment” to a brand new stadium for the crew in Washington.

FedEx, the title sponsor of the crew’s present stadium in Maryland, calls on the crew to vary its identify.


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