Football Divided

September 25, 2007 at 3:22 am | Posted in football (american), sherpa | 8 Comments

Last night I watched my first football game since the Superbowl and it made me sad.   I always get a little melancholy this time of year.  Baseball is winding down, MSL is around the corner from the playoffs and I have 3 months of non-stop football to look forward to, and I don’t like the game much.  Oh, I understand it, I grew up in a household that took me to high school and college games from the time I was little.  I’ve even played on powder puff and co-ed flag football teams.  However, football just isn’t my thing.  The culture, the strategy of the game?  Ugh.  That all being said, my mom once said, I was attracted to the athleticism of the game, and that’s true.  I don’t mind watching an incredible play, but then my brain reminds me of all the reasons I dislike the game and I usually go into another room of the house.  I even follow the Redskins, but more or less because I live in a Football Town.  You live in DC, you better at least know the names of the Redskins, more so than any other team in town.  At least there’s only four months left of Football Misery. 



  1. I know it’s been brought up so many times it’s really unnecessary to mention it….but: “Redskins”? How is that still acceptable?

  2. Wow, thats kicking a dead horse. Out of my whole rambling piece, you’re asking about the name Redskins? That’s really funny.

  3. In my country called Eunorke (taken over after North Korea implodes), our football team is going to be called The Chinamen. Because the Chinese kick ass. I mean it in a respectful way…like, thanks for building our railroads, yo! Named after our vice president, who is Asian (and maybe half Chinese) who finds the slur Chinaman endearing.

    Don’t worry, hockey season starts in four days. No racial issues there: white white white bread! hurray!

  4. You opened my eyes. I didn’t even realize Chinaman was a slur comparative to Redskins! Seriously though, I still find it funny that you automatically assume I’m a redskin fan, and start the hating on the name. Where have you been dearie? Shoot, half of the Native Americans that live on the reservation near my home town are bigger Redskin fans than I am? Does that make the name okay? Probably not, but it shows that its pretty much a non-issue.

  5. I didn’t mean to insult you personally. I’m just trying to bring up an issue in the blog that I think is still important, no matter how overdiscussed it is. The term Redskins is offensive, though I don’t know where it rates on the racial slur chart. As far as I’m concerned, using an ethnic group as a mascot is offensive, but I’m always willing to discuss that. However, using an ethnic group described through a slur is unacceptable. The reason it’s a “non-issue” is purely financial, but many teams outside the NFL (high schools, club sports) have changed mascots due to social and political pressure.

    The Boston Braves changed their name in 1933, a period of time when American Indians were being relocated to major cities by an assimilation and termination policy – an effort to annihilate Indian culture in the US. It seems pretty ironic that the team wanted to honor the culture with a slur-based mascot while many in the city supporting the Redskins were actively participating in this termination.

    Whether or not you like the Redskins has nothing to do with it. I think you can like the Redskins and hate the name…maybe it’s like liking the US but not approving of the president. There’s always room for improvement.

  6. Don’t forget the NCAA’s decision to ban from post season participation, any school referrencing Native Americana in their team name or logo nomore than two years ago. And these weren’t racial slurs, either, since all Division I schools–including my own–have long since abandoned those for more tasteful names. The list of offending schools included general terms (Indians, Warriors) and tribe-specific names (Utes, Seminoles, Chippewas). So I’d say it’s hardly a non-issue. Argue all you want that you’re celebrating a races “stalwart attributes,” the fact is as long as there is a team named the Redskins, there will be people getting offended and griping about it. That’s life. I personally don’t care.

  7. First, the “Boston Braves” didn’t change their name. Perhaps you haven’t heard of the Atlanta Braves? They are one and the same. The Braves were changed to the bees in 1935, and then 5 years later the name changed back to the Braves. The Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953 and then to Atlanta in 1966. What are they called now? Huh, last time I checked they are still the Atlanta Braves.

  8. Block That Mascot? Bite Your Tongue

    By Marc Fisher
    Thursday, November 17, 2005; B01

    Earlier this week, my fellow tenant in this space, Courtland Milloy, used a parable about a football game between the Whiteys and the Darkies to force us to think about the Washington Redskins’ name.

    It was a strong appeal to our sense of fairness. But it was based on a fallacy.

    We’ve all heard the pleas for sports teams to leave behind the derisive nicknames of another era. And perhaps we can agree that there’s little defense for some names. Take, for example, the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Savages. (Women’s teams: the Lady Savages. I kid you not.)

    But, wait: Turns out that the chief of the Choctaw Nation defends the Savages. Instead of ripping the college for insensitivity, tribal officials are proud of the name and emphasize the school’s support for the quarter of its students who are Indians.

    Sometimes when you look beyond the easy slogans of activists, you find something more interesting: Most people simultaneously cherish history and want to do the right thing.

    Two major studies show that while activists are busy suing teams, many Indians take no offense. A survey of Indians conducted in 2002 for Sports Illustrated found that 81 percent don’t think high school or college teams should drop Indian nicknames. Asked about the Redskins, 75 percent said the name doesn’t offend them. Last year, the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Election Survey found that 90 percent of Indians did not consider “Redskins” offensive.

    But such matters ought not be settled solely by plebiscite. The real question is whether the trumped-up sensitivities of people who could be addressing, say, Indian poverty will be permitted to scrub away history at thousands of schools.

    And let’s not limit ourselves to Indian names, because this debate is about the role the past plays in our lives. Radicals want to pretend that without Indian names we are pure as — colorism alert! — freshly fallen snow. Surely, they say, we would never stand for teams using the names of other ethnicities.

    But in Southern California last weekend, the Coachella Valley High School football team, the Arabs, beat the Indio Rajahs, 24-12. Their league includes the Palm Springs Indians and the Palm Desert Aztecs. In a less oppressively sensitive time, that was one heck of a place to be a sports headline writer.

    California is still home, amazingly, to the Tarbabes of Compton High School, whose name never had any racial connotation (nearby Compton College’s teams were the Tartars, so the high school adopted Tartar Babies, later shortened to Tarbabes.) In Texas, the Hereford Whitefaces were named for a breed of cattle.

    Across this land, you’ll find such school nicknames as the Elk Horn (Iowa) Danes, Sultan (Wash.) Turks and Man (W.Va.) Hillbillies. Those Arabs in Palm Springs, by the way, are named for immigrants who planted the area’s cash crop, date trees. That’s a slur?

    The panicked response of academics desperate to avoid being tagged as racist poses a far greater threat than any team name could. Today’s campaigns for verbal purity lace our society with fear and push us ever deeper into suppressing thought.

    Last summer, the NCAA banned Indian names at 18 schools, lumping into the same pot not only Redmen and Fighting Sioux but also Chippewas and, yes, Indians (seven colleges). One of those schools, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is in Indiana, Pa. Not only the team, but presumably the college and the town also need new names.

    Speaking of inappropriate behavior, the NCAA has not cleaned its own house. Its headquarters is in — I can barely bring myself to type the offending letters — Indianapolis.

    Florida State, helped by Gov. Jeb Bush’s threat to sue the NCAA and by a hearty endorsement of the ‘Noles’ name by the Seminole Tribe, has won a reprieve. But too many schools are caving. Even before the ban, Indiana University had sought a compromise by keeping its Indians name and switching its mascot. The school hired a Manhattan (oh, my, another name that simply cannot stand) sports branding firm, and the Indian became — a bear.

    Want to ban the Atlanta Braves’ infernal tomahawk chop? Fine (though I kind of miss Chief Nokahoma). But the sins of the past cannot be erased by turning words into taboos. Didn’t George Orwell teach us that?

    © 2005 The Washington Post Company

    Here’s the deal. Personally I can see both sides. Growing up in an area with a reservation in the county and a native american nickname as the county high school mascot, I’ve seen that the Native American Community in my area divided on this, and I’ve read that the native america community is divided also. You’re hardly educating me, and by the looks of it and my above post, you’d better get your facts correct before you start talking about ethnic slurs. As far as I could tell doing a 2 minute search on google, the Boston Braves still exist albeit not in Boston.

    That being said, even knowing about the NCAA ruling for teams to change their names, and being aware of High school teams changing their names, I still consider this a non-issue. Why? it has nothing to do with finances and has everything to do with having a knowledge of Native American History, past and present. Do the native american nicknames show that the United States still feels that Native Americans should be subservient, irridaticated, forced to the fringes of society today, like they were one hundred years ago? That’s debatable. You see, tThere’s so many other issues dealing with native americans that are much more important, and are partly or directly a result of the tragedies that befell them the last 400 years. Poverty, alcoholism, spousal abuse, the corruption of tribes, depression are just the tip of the iceberg. I have a hard time seeing how nicknames such contribute to these problems and how Native American nicknames are a big deal when serious problems exist in native american populations that are huge compared to this. You may say the reason I feel this way is because of “financial” reasons, but even though college and high school teams have changed their names, I still think this is a non-issue. Let them change their mascot names to something that is conssidered less offensive, that’s fine. But don’t be irate about name changes and ignore the much bigger matters that the current native american populations are facing. Changing nicknames is easy, dealing with the immediate problems are much more harder. Personally, if the “redskins,” and other teams like the Atlanta Braves had it in their trademark agreement to spend a certain amount of their profits each year to fund programs with the Native American tribes, and had players spend times on the reservations, that would go along way in irradicating the problems the Native American tribes face, much more so than just crying out that a name is an ethnic slur.

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