Time for Washington's Football Team to Change Its Name

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

"The name fails the most basic tests of acceptability," writes Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson about the Washington Redskins' team name. He joins a widening chorus calling for a name change for the football team based in the nation's capital.

I'm a bit late to the topic, but the Washington, D.C., professional football team really ought to change its name. As encouragement for the franchise's stubborn owner, we should just stop saying the offensive word.

The term "redskins" — it's hard to write a column about a word without using it, I'm afraid — is a racial slur. Fans of the team, including me, have pretended not to notice this uncomfortable fact for many years. Now we're beginning to confront it.

The name fails the most basic tests of acceptability. Can you imagine employing it to address someone? Would you use it to describe anyone not associated with the team? If you overheard someone using the term in a non-football context, would you think more of that person or less?

The answers are obvious. To be honest, they always were.

We ignored the fact that we were uttering a vile and condescending insult — often, during games, yelling it at the top of our lungs — because we loved the team. I mean this literally: "Hail to the Redskins, hail victory" does not quite match "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" as poetry, but it is no less ardent an expression of love. 

Read Eugene Robinson's entire piece at the Washington Post.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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