Redskins: The Name Change Game

The Redskins name has been a subject of controversy for a long time, but it has often taken the backburner to other stories throughout the years.

It jumped back into the headlines on Oct. 5, when President Barack Obama mentioned that if he were the owner of the NFL football team, he might consider a name change. This comment once again sparked debate over the topic, with many people on both sides of the argument.

The reason that some people believe the name should be changed is because it can be interpreted as a racial slur or offensive against Native Americans. Many dictionaries define it as such. Recently, renowned NBC sports commentator Bob Costas also agreed with this sentiment, and he expressed his opinion that the name “Redskins” is a slur and should be changed.

The subject has made it to the front page of acclaimed publications such as The New York Times and Forbes, which posted an article regarding the possibility of the Redskins not changing their name because it would end up being more expensive than the alternative. They claimed that it is a question of when, not if.

Back in May of this year, Redskins owner Dan Snyder commented that he would never change the name of the team, and there are many people, even those who aren’t fans, agree with his sediment. Animal rights group PETA recently put forth the idea that the Redskins keep their name and instead change their logo to a sweet potato; however, this idea was met with much criticism. Newspapers like the Kansas City Star humorously called the idea “half-baked.”

So what does the Shepherd University campus think about the controversy? The majority of the people I interviewed seemed to believe that they should not change their name, such as sophomore Jackson Muse who claimed that a change would be too much of a break with tradition and it would alienate longtime fans who identify with the name.

Other students such as Emily Spangler believe that if the name is offensive to many people, then she doesn’t believe it would be such a terrible thing to appease them. So, will Dan Snyder go back on his words? Does the opinion of Bob Costas hold sway over the future of the Redskins? Or is this simply a debate that will never end?

At this moment, there is no word from Dan Snyder that it will, but needless to say, many people are looking forward to the answer coming at the start of the Redskins’ 2014 season. Will they return to the field next year with a new name, mascot and logo? Or will tradition prevail? Only time will tell.

Regardless of which side of the argument you stand on, it might be important to voice your opinion, because whether or not Forbes was correct in their predictions, if the name of the team has a powerful effect on profit, there will more incentive to keep or change it.

I personally feel that regardless of the change, being in the headlines and on the lips of the president will cause the Redskins’ popularity to skyrocket. For as the saying goes, any press is good press.

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