Following pressure from certain sponsors and woke culture, the owner of the Washington Redskins decided to change its name and logo over allegations that it’s “racist” towards Native Americans. At this point, there is no word yet on what the new team name will be.
One of the oldest franchises in the National Football League (NFL), the team was originally founded in 1933, named the Braves and based in Boston, Massachusetts. Over the next couple of years, the name was changed to the Redskins and the team relocated to Washington D.C. The founder of the team, George Preston Marshall, considered the name “a nod to bravery,” as reported by The New York Times.
But to the growing woke culture and certain sponsors, the title ‘Redskins’ was considered offensive to Native Americans. FedEx, which paid for naming rights to the stadium where the Redskins play, was one of the biggest sponsors to voice its displeasure.
After announcing on July 3 that the team would review the name and logo, just 10 days later the team had a decision.
The official press release reads in part, “Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo…Dan Snyder and Coach Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans, and community for the next 100 years.”
For the family of the man who designed the Redskins logo, it was disappointing, to say the least.
Having grown up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, Walter “Blackie” Wetzel designed the logo in 1971 to reflect the members of his tribe. It’s something that his family still looks to with pride.
“Everyone was pretty upset (about the change),” Lance Wetzel, Walter’s son, said. “Everyone understood the name change we were all on board with that. Once they weren’t going to use the logo, it was hard. It takes away from the Native Americans. When I see that logo, I take pride in it. You look at the depiction of the Redskins logo and it’s of a true Native American. I always felt it was representing my people. That’s not gone.”
“The Native Americans were forgotten people. That logo, lets people know these people exist,” Wetzel said. “If it were changed and it removed any derogatory feelings toward any person, then I think it’s a win. I don’t want that logo to be associated in a negative way, ever.”
Members of the Blackfeet tribe have even been invited to perform at games.
Ray Halbritter, the leader of the 1,000 member Oneida Nation located in New York, praised the decision.
“The NFL is standing today on the right side of history,” Halbritter said. “It’s a good decision.”
However, successive polls conducted by The Washington Post have shown that “the majority of Native Americans still aren’t offended by the name of the Washington Redskins.” (Emphasis in the original). In fact, the poll showed that 9 out of 10 were not offended by the name.
Photo from Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock.com
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