November 20, 2013

Hail to the...Bravehearts?

By - Brad Heerschop

It's an old story. Opinionated, overly sensitive people with nothing better to do, forcing their ideas on the rest of the world.

This time around, it's not about anything new. The Washington Redskins and their nickname have long been a point of contention in the fight towards what has been coined as the "wussification of America."

Photo by: Getty Images
As a lifelong Redskins fan, I will die a little inside when the name is inevitably changed, but I know that with the way the world is now, it's only a matter of time.

For years the name has stirred up controversy. In my lifetime I do not remember any time when there wasn't at least somebody who found it offensive. The name has led to protests since the early 80s (if not before), and now it appears that a change is finally imminent.

Even President Obama has complained about the name. Not like he has bigger fish to fry or anything, right? It seems like everybody in America has chimed in, from congress, right down to your everyday Joe Blow.

Clearly this is the biggest issue facing the U.S. in 2013. Who cares about the national debt? Who cares about poverty and homelessness? Who cares about terrorism? But the name of a football team? Now that is definitely something the government should concern themselves with.

Talks have gotten to the point where new names have been suggested as well. The early front runners are the "Bravehearts" and the "Warriors." I'll still be a fan either way, but if it has to be one of those two, please, for the love of everything good, become the Warriors.

So what's in a name? Granted, the term Redskins in itself does lend reason to the outcry.

The problem is the honor and glory that the name now represents. The franchise has been the "Redskins" since 1933. 80 years ago that name was given to the team, allegedly as a homage to their coach at the time, Lone Star Dietz, who claimed to be part Sioux.

The name is synonymous with football in the nation's capital, and I'm willing to bet if you ask somebody what they think of when you say "redskin" that a very high percentage of them would equate it to the NFL franchise, not the negative connotation it also may or may not carry.

The meaning has been a point to debate for many people. While it clearly refers to the skin tone of the Native North American people, the argument is whether it was intended as a slur and a negative thing, or if the term is of more positive nature, with a certain sense of pride and honor attached to it.

I have no interest in debating the origin of the word, nor the legitimacy of claims that it is strictly a racial slur. The issue is, what a name change will do to many other sports franchises of similar roots.

What will come with a new name is an absolute overhaul of name changing throughout the sporting world. A slippery slope starting with the Redskins will turn protesters to the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, Florida State Seminoles, Chicago Blackhawks, and many more. Why? Because people who protest things for the sake of protesting just love to complain about something. Changing the world one team at a time, teaching their message to sports fans around the globe.

What will happen next is the trickle-down effect. Soon the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will be forced to change their historic name, followed by the New York Yankees, Boston Celtics, Vancouver Canucks, and so on down the line, until every team is named after an animal or something fuzzy and warm.

Then PETA will get involved, bellyaching about unfair depictions of animals. Next thing you know every single team will have to be named after a color, number, letter or shape, just to keep everybody happy.

The New York Circles. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

The hypothetical scenario I just described above is more satirical than anything, but it's not all that far-fetched, either. People will always find something that offends them. The problem is, those who support the name have no reason to start rallies to keep it.

Why protest something that already is?

I've come to know many Aboriginal people in my years, none of whom find the name offensive. In fact, many of them love it, and are Redskins fans just because of the name. However, I also realize that there are many native people who do oppose the name as well, so I propose this:

Let's take a poll of people who are First Nations and see what the consensus is. If the majority agrees to change the name, I am all for it. It's only fair. However, if the opposite happens, the whiners will have to suck it up and the name remains. I'm fairly confident we wouldn't see a change, but if we do, I'm willing to swallow my words and pride in the Redskins name.

This is just my opinion, and I respect people's right to disagree if they so choose. But it's time for the folks who support the name to stand up against these protest. I implore all of you to get educated and opinionated in this matter.

Let's leave sports to sports fans. The politicians can stick to what they do best. Lies and empty promises.


  1. Great post, Brad! I can only hope Dan Snyder remains strong and doesn't succumb to the pressures of political correctness and retains the team name of THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS. If not, I foresee a domino effect and my own team, the New Orleans Saints, could be in jeopardy of a name change because it has a religious reference.

  2. Unless the league office somehow forces him to chance it I don't see Snyder ever agreeing to do it. He's pretty adamant that it's staying Redskins.

  3. I'm 58 years old and have been a Redskins fan my entire life. If they change the name it will make me physically ill. Snyder can be a dick at times, but I love how he's stand firm on this matter.

  4. People have been bitching about it forever. If they haven't changed it prior to now there's little reason to believe it's getting changed.

  5. Snyder has already changed his tune a bit. He is willing to hear opinions and meet with aboriginal groups about it, now that he's heard some points from people that he deems valid. Even if he does stay strong and not change the name, his tenure as owner will eventually come to an end and until the Redskins change their name, this debate will continue to rear it's ugly head.

    @ mike- the push now is stronger than ever and people are more concerned with political correctness than ever before. This will happen eventually and it will be a sad sad day when it does. The fact that teams have had multitudes of fans protest to the point that they have lobbied to ban anything with the name and/or logo within their building only proves the push to do this is stronger than ever.