Which makes sense. Why should a sports team be limited to one city? How small-minded and provincial. They have fans all over the country, right? They should be called America’s Redskins.
Scratch that: the World’s Redskins.
That’s not what Slate’s David Plotz says, though:
The Washington _________
This is the last Slate article that will refer to the Washington NFL team as the Redskins.
For decades, American Indian activists and others have been asking, urging, and haranguing the Washington Redskins to ditch their nickname, calling it a racist slur and an insult to Indians. They have collected historical and cultural examples of the use of redskin as a pejorative and twice sued to void the Redskins trademark, arguing that the name cannot be legally protected because it’s a slur…
…While the name Redskins is only a bit offensive, it’s extremely tacky and dated—like an old aunt who still talks about “colored people” or limps her wrist to suggest someone’s gay.
Slate is far from the first to take a stand against the nickname. Why are we joining Washington City Paper and Gregg Easterbrook and writers from the Buffalo News and the Philadelphia Daily News? We’re a national, general-interest magazine, not the Washington Post or ESPN. Our coverage is sporadic, and I doubt that Dan Snyder or Roger Goodell have Google alerts for our NFL stories. When we stop using the name Redskins, hardly anyone will notice. But it will also represent no great sacrifice for us to stop using the word—it’s easy enough to substitute “Washington” or “Washington’s NFL team.”
How about the “Washington Racists”? Nah, that wouldn’t work. Except for the white players, of course.
I applaud David Plotz for his brave (ahem) stance against this racist slur. And, more importantly, for scoring an editing gig that gives him ample free time to write 1,200 words about not using the name of a sports team.