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Should the Washington Redskins Change their Name, Mascot and Uniforms?

October 22, 2013

Gary Goldberg

Redskins LogoThe controversy isn't new. Simply stated, Native Americans are urging the owner of the Washington Redskins NFL team to change their name as the word Redskin is an offensive and derogatory word to most Native Americans. Daniel Snyder, the current owner of the Washington Redskins penned what some would describe as a heartfelt letter to his fans, explaining that the name Redskin was meant with pride and history, a badge of honor if you will, and the valuable tradition of the team would be in peril if the name Redskin was stripped from their uniforms. So here is my perspective on the situation from a purely editorial viewpoint: Daniel is wrong, he needs to let go and show the power of a gracious and good deed to the whole world.

Daniel and I have one significant thing in common, we are both Jews, and if anyone knows that being called a name can cause hurt and pain, it's a kid who grew up as a Jew in a intercultural world. Look, I am not minimizing anyone else's feelings and I appreciate the fact that all members of minorities at some point feel isolated or picked on, whether it's open and apparent discrimination or another form of social exclusion. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, you name it, someone has been picked on. So why continue the trend? I recall my own childhood - there was a mean big kid who lived down the street, he held me down one day spit in my face and called me a Jew. So using my own context I know what my personal reaction would be if New York Knicks were called the New York Heebs. Believe me, the world wouldn't stand for it, there would be outrage. But for some reason, people think it's ok to call the Redskins the Redskins, even though to Native Americans it's the equivalent of any choice of your fill-in-the-blank nasty names.

So here is my advice for Daniel: learn from your Jewish theology, perform a massive Mitzvah, the greatest of good deeds and show this country that coming together can be as easy as changing the name of a professional football team. It would be an awesome marketing opportunity - a fresh look, new logo, massive apparel and fan gear sales events, not to mention the positive light it would shed on the world of the NFL. In fact, I bet other owners would be envious of the positive PR spin his new team would gain. The old uniforms would become collector's editions and the new ones would be worn with excitement and pride.


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