All major Native American organizations have called for the Washington pro football franchise to end its team's despicable name. Why? Because it's a racial slur and – no matter how many millions it spends trying to sanitize it and silence native peoples – the epithet is not, was not, and will not be an honorific.
Washington 'Redskins' is a racist name: US pro football must disavow it
I seem to remember objections being raised about the names of the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians baseball teams, for instance, and I really don't get that. This I get. Would anyone name their team, say, the "Indianapolis Honkies"? I don't think so. The closest I can come to an offensive stereotype in team names is Notre Dame's "Fighting Irish", and even there I'd have to say that it would probably be best for those offended by that name to acquire a sense of humor. Aggression, after all, is considered a good thing in many sports.
But the name of our nation's capital's football team is singularly offensive. Not only has the term been a historically demeaning one, but it reminds us of the long, sad history of relations between the indigenous population of the United States and those of us who came afterward. Maybe it's good to be reminded of that once in a while, but I'd rather we came to realize that it was a bad thing, that racist attitudes of some of the newcomers were a big part of that reason, and we don't think those racist attitudes were OK.
This is why, on the rare occasions when Washington's team does something notable, I've refused to refer to it by its team name, and will continue to not refer to it that way.
It may not rank high on the list of crimes committed by America these days, but I agree that the NFL ought to change it.