Over the course of the past few seasons, the Washington Redskins have faced scrutiny over the mascot of their team. So much so, in fact, that their stadium sponsor, FedEx, has asked them to change their mascot, and Nike has removed all Redskins gear from their website.
The team was founded in 1932, a time when segregation and racism were still monumentally present in the United States. It’s not surprising that the mascot “Redskin” was deemed an okay choice back then, but it is almost one hundred years later now. Professional teams have been adapting to more politically correct mascots for years, like when the Cleveland Indians adapted their logo to a capital C instead of the traditional Chief Wahoo.
Washington has been adamant about keeping their mascot and has neglected the backlash that has been coming their way since the early 2000’s, but the time to change is now. The team that hails from our nation’s capitol should exemplify something positive, instead of a non-politically correct way to call a Native American. Sticking with a Native American theme could be positive, as long as the mascot is no longer derogatory.
Another reason that Washington should change their name now is that they’re playing at an all-time low level. Washington has not achieved a 10-win season since 2012, and boasted an abysmal 3-13 record last year. With a new era around the corner with new defensive end Chase Young and quarterback Dwayne Haskins, Washington can start fresh with a new name and look. It would be a great cultural change for football, and would please fans all over the NFL.
As for what they should change their name to, I’ve seen a few great examples that I would back. Twitter user @petemrogers designed their rebrand as the Washington Redtails, going along with an aesthetically pleasing jersey and logo. Rogers explains, “The name ‘Redtails’ celebrates the WWII Tuskegee Airmen, who were the first African-American military aviators in the U.S. armed forces. The nickname ‘Redtails’ comes from their planes, which had a distinct crimson tail.” Needless to say, this change would be a very welcome one in our capitol.
Another name I quite liked was the Washington Warriors. Keeping a Native American theme in the capitol is a great idea, and changing the name from a derogatory term like ‘Redskin’ into a positive one like ‘Warrior’ would do wonders for the NFL. In this design I’d like to see Native Americans being shown as strong and true to their heritage.
I think Washington ownership is finally being pressured enough for change to come about. When the companies that sponsor your field and jerseys are telling you to change, you change. Washington won’t want this type of negative publicity to go on for long, and the longer it does the worse it’ll make them seem as an organization.
2020 has brought many hard challenges and negativity, but it would be a win and positive change for everyone if Washington changed their mascot.