KingMidget's Ramblings

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Sports Thoughts


I’ve been pondering all week, thinking about whether I should write about this.  Sitting and watching the Giants-Redskins for a few minutes, my younger son asked me what I thought.  So, here goes.

There’s a controversy about the fact that the Washington Redskins won’t change their name to something more politically correct.  There is a recent history of a lot of sports teams changing their names to more politically correct names.  The NBA’s Washington used to be the Bullets for chrissakes.  They finally changed their name to the Wizards a few years back.  There also have been a number of high school and college sports teams with names similar to the Redskins who have changed their names.

I don’t understand why.  I get that the word redskins is generally considered a slur by Native Americans, but if a sports team is using it to identify itself, they have selected it because of perceived positive connotations of the word.  I don’t know of any sports team that selects a name because of negative images the word reflect.  No, sports teams pick words because they have a connection to the area where the team is located — Steelers for the steelworks of Pittsburgh, Dodgers for the fans who dodged streetcars to get to games — or because they represent the characteristics the team wants to present.  If that’s the case, why not, at least in this case, recognize that the use of the word isn’t intended as a slur.  Instead, it is intended to represent the positive characteristics of noble Native Americans.  Their pride, their resoluteness in battle, their fierceness, their loyalty to tribe.  All of which are positive characteristics when it comes to the battles that are professional sports.  I actually see it as a way to defuse and weaken the negative connotation of the word.

Just my thoughts.

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4 responses to “Sports Thoughts

  1. sknicholls September 25, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Agreed. I think this country is too concerned with what’s politically correct. Pretty soon, we’ll be the nation of non-identifiable differences. What’s the deal with stereotypes anyway? They exist for a reason. There’s a reason we have the word stereotypes in our vocabulary.

    • kingmidget September 25, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      I think some stereotypes are logical and unoffensive, but there are plenty that are wrong. I read a little about the history of the word redskins and whether it really is a slur. There are those who think that using a physical characteristic like skin color to identify a group isn’t necessarily derogatory or a slur. I think, ultimately, it depends on the intent of the person using the word. There are other factors as well, but intent is critical. Clearly, a sports team that selects the name as its identifier isn’t doing so because it’s a slur.

  2. Philip Walter September 27, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I was watching that game and thought the same thing. Football > faux-outrage.

    • kingmidget September 27, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Yep. This is one of the reasons why I have grown so tired of the NFL. It’s a sport, that’s all. But it has become a stand-in for cultural issues and the culture war. It needs to just go back to being a sport.

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