As the controversy and debate surrounding the Washington Redskins name builds, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has defended the name. In correspondence with the U.S. Congress, he has said the name is intended to uplift the Native American history of that region, not to belittle a race.
The name “stands for strength, courage, pride and respect,” Goodell said.
Native Americans disagree saying that the particular term they use, ‘redskins,’ is a slur. It isn’t ‘warriors’ or ‘braves’ or named after a specific tribe like the Florida States mascot, the ‘seminoles.’
“Goodell’s offensive reply is not only cowardly, but it is also an antiquated defense reminiscent of those who refused to recognize other pop culture stereotypes such as Little Black Sambo and Frito Bandito,” Native American author Mark Anthony Rolo wrote, via the Denver Post.
Rolo offers a reason behind Roger Goodell, the NFL, and Daniel Snyder’s reluctance to change the name. Money.
“Goodell’s refusal to take the right stand has more to do with money than “honoring” the Native American warrior spirit. But concern over losing fan devotion to the Redskin name and image, and profitable merchandise, television and ad revenue should not be factors in the decision whether or not to rename the NFL team.”
Rolo uses the Washington Wizards change name from Bullets to prove that there isn’t a risk to worry about. In a way, he uses it to further discredit Goodell’s hesistance to change the name.
“Even on its own money-grubbing terms, however, Goodell’s argument doesn’t stand up. In 1997, the NBA’s Washington Bullets, in a move to disassociate the team from gun violence in the nation’s capital, switched over to the Washington Wizards. Fan devotion and profits were not lost due to the name change.”