An Associated Press poll this week showed 79 percent of Americans are in favor of keeping the nickname “Redskins” for the Washington NFL team.
Eleven percent think it should be changed and 10 percent didn’t respond or weren’t sure.
I’m a traditionalist in many sports things, but I still think Redskins should have been gone long ago.This is an easy call in one area: No ethnic group, as a whole, is going to love a name based on skin color.
A case can be made for Chippewas, Seminoles and Utes when a team gets tribal permission. Names like Braves and Warriors are arguably honorary titles.
But how do you defend a nickname based on pigmentation?
Washington’s NFL nickname is the most offensive in pro sports.
Nobody’s really stumbling over “Wizards” instead of “Bullets” anymore. The New Orleans Hornets are becoming the Pelicans. The Devil Rays became the Rays. The Oilers became the Titans. Team names can change. People adapt.
Meanwhile, Washington would get a bump in merchandise sales.
What’s to lose except a bad tradition?