By Stefan Anderson
I attended college at Virginia State University located in Petersburg, Virginia, just miles away from the state’s capital Richmond. While attending VSU, I had noticed something you probably would see if you never been to the DMV Area (D.C, Maryland and Virginia not Department of Motor Vehicles), a fan base like no other.
You have your major fan bases like Cowboys and Steelers for example where fans will root for that team regardless of the outcome. Well after residing in Virginia for 4 years, I would add the Washington Redskins on to that list. Virginia has no major sports franchise in the entire state and being that the Redskins are the closest team they are Virginia’s team, as well as Maryland and Washington D.C. Redskin logos can be seen anywhere from scratch off tickets, supermarket promotions and even painted on most fans vehicles.
The term Redskin or the R-word is a considered a vulgar term because of the effects and usage in particular with Native Americans. The irony that we would have a term used in that context used to represent the team that plays in nation capital, but the arguments and debates whether the name should be changed have been fought over for many years and will until action is finally taken.
But some action has been taken in regards to the social issue that haunts Native Americans to this date. In a 177 page report, a federal board has canceled the team’s trademark registration because it is “disparaging to Native Americans. The ruling was given by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board was celebrated by Native Americans, who have fought to remove the team’s offensive name.
This battle is only at its beginning steps as it goes further than trademark being cancelled for the name change to begin. With Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder is on record for not changing his franchise’s name at all. Snyder has been on record for stating “The real issues are real-life issues, real-life needs, and I think it’s time that people focus on reality.”
But Snyder , Roger Goodell and other executives in the NFL , must come together to make this change sooner than later ultimately if he does not want to lose one of the most loyal fan bases that exist in the NFL. With the NFL proposing a new rule implementing a penalty for anytime a player uses the N-word, an equally derogatory term used daily by African Americans, it would be only right for the NFL to change one of its franchises name to accomplish such things.
The National Football League has grown into one of the most popular sports in the country and can grow even larger if it takes charge and attacks its social issues that stand in front of them currently. With its first homosexual player being drafted, it shown how far and how much growth the game has and if changing a name that causes harm to a particular group that supports and builds your product to what it is today why not change the Redskins name to something that really symbolizes our nation’s capital. Or does our country really represent bullying and exploiting others for what makes us happy?