THE LONG FIGHT CONTINUES
UPDATE: – The Washington Football Club 2014
By: – Gary Norris Gray-BASN Staff Reporter
The Washington Football Club’s “R-skin” name has imposed pain and suffering on the First Nation/Native American Communities. Changing the name, starting in our nation’s capitol, can lead the way to change the course of racial diversity, understanding, and create ethnic peace throughout the United States.
The previous owner of this team already changed the name for profit, by moving to another stadium In Boston, Massachusetts and adopting their name. They made profit by hiring a Native American as the team’s head coach that was not really a Native American for a side show.
Now the present owner Dan Snyder MIGHT change the name if the National Football League grants the Washington Football Club a Super Bowl in the near future.
Mr. Dan Snyder MIGHT change the name if he is guaranteed a sell out every game and a 2.1 billion dollar guarantee of selling his new team (GEAR) name hats, shirts, uniforms, and other items.
Mr. Snyder will profit by moving back into the city limits of Washington D.C. in a new modern stadium.
MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY.
Here is the short term definition of the name:
Noun Slang: Often Disparaging and Offensive.
A North American Indian.
This is the long American cowboy version of the name’s origin:-
For those who do not know, during the days of the old American West, cowboys received rewards for bringing back animals that they had killed. However, they could not bring back the whole animal due to the lack of space. Therefore hunters and trappers would bring back the fur pelts, skin pelts, or heads.
This practice led to bringing back the scalps of Indians during the Indian Wars to prove the number of kills. Remember head wounds bleed more than any other body wounds thus…., the current name of the Washington Football Club.
In 1932 the Boston Braves Football Club became the Boston “R-word” (Redskins) Football Club because the owner George Preston Marshall did not want his team to be confused with the Boston Braves baseball team. It was changed to sell more football paraphernalia
MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY
The team moved to Washington in 1937 with their new name. This organization became the flagship football team of the old Dixie, yes The old South and harbored some of the Rebel, racial attitudes. It was the last team to hire an African American who played flanker, and wide receiver, Bobby Mitchell. He was traded by the Cleveland Browns to The Washington Club in the 1961-62. Mitchell became the first Black executive in the Washington Football Organization in 1969-1970.
President John F. Kennedy, the District of Columbia, and the National Football League executive officers threatened to evict the team from D.C. Stadium- Memorial Stadium-Robert F. Kennedy Stadium if the club continued its practice of discrimination.
This is George Preston Marshall’s version of the name change from the Boston Braves to the Boston Redskins. Marshall tried to piggy-backing on two baseball team’s name in 1932. The Newark, New Jersey football team called the Tornadoes went out of business and the league sold them to laundry millionaire Marshall at a very low price.
Meanwhile The Boston Braves baseball team took the name of the Native American New York street operatives called Braves, Marshall’s football team moved from Braves Field into Fenway Park. Marshall took the Braves name with him but in the newspapers the football team and the baseball team got labeled as one entity. This did not set well with George Preston Marshall he wanted to extend a hand of friendship to the Boston Red Soxs buy renaming his team the Red-Skins. At least this is Marshall’s version of the name change.
MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY…
The football team hired a Native American as its head coach. Lone Star Dietz, who stole the name of another Native American named One Star Dietz. So the circus that Marshall planned failed and he did not hire another minority until 1962.
Marshall was a stanch segregationist and made it known so the Dietz hiring was an anomaly and was only for profit motives
The Washington Football Club still insists that money as the problem for not changing their name. The Washington Bullets basketball team changed their name to the Washington Wizards in 1995-96.
The National Basketball Association Bullets changed their name after the high murder rate in the District of Columbia that claimed young African American lives. So The Football Club’s issue of money is now null and void especially with the Wizards claim to national fame. Michael Jordan also helped. The Football Club’s original name was the Boston Braves. All the football teams of the 1920’s and 30’s shared names and logos with their baseball breathern.
If they changed their name; those who follow the team would invest in new Washington gear the next football season, Mr. Snyder would be swimming in GREEN,
MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY.
Consider this, team names like: The Houston Honkies, The Chicago Chinks, The Nashville Niggers, The Washington Wasps, The Washington State Wetbacks, The Sacramento Savages, The Georgetown Gooks, The Jacksonville Jews, The Richmond Ragheads, The Kentucky Kikes, The Toronto Towel Heads, or The Portland Porch Monkeys..
Does not sound good does it?
America lets this pejorative to be uttered every Monday night, Thursday night, Sunday afternoons, and Sunday nights on the radio and television.
Let’s backtrack again to the 1970-1980’s debate. The battle began at Dartmouth College, now Dartmouth University. Their original name at the time (Indians) and they changed it to “THE BIG GREEN” in 1968-1969, after a long protracted campus demonstration by Native American Indians.
The Dartmouth University student body, and the school administration with the help of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). The change occurred peacefully.
Three years later on the West Coast, the Stanford University (Indians) followed in the footsteps of Dartmouth when they changed their name to “THE CARDINAL” or “TREE”. The students, administration, and teachers admired the Native American Protest on Alcatraz Island in 1972-74.
This protest on Alcatraz Island reminded Americans about the sad and destructive predicament of Native American citizens. The Native American Indian communities are located outside of most modern American cities. They live on reservations with little or no incentives to move. These communities have the highest drug and alcohol abuse and the lowest job rate in the United States. Education is not a high priority list on the reservations so few graduate and enter college. So the cycle continues.
The following list reflects some of the psychological and physical effects of using negative images of Native American mascots, nicknames, and logos:
1) The misconceived and self-serving concept of having Native American mascots in American houses of learning is dehumanizing and perpetuates inaccurate stereotypes. Native American children are learning that their ancestors were wild and untamed humans. This warlike, violent behavior is often portrayed by most American media. Just watch old black and white cowboy movies. We all know who the heroes are. The American Indians often are the ones that are defeated and shamed.
2) The United States Department of Justice stated that poor people in America are impacted more by violent crimes. Native Americans/First Nations are twice as likely to be a victim of violent crime.
3) Most sports figures or teams have their own rituals, battle cries, even imitating real battles and real wars. It use to be at the beginning of every University of Illinois basketball game, or a Florida State University football game a male dresses in Native American warrior gear and rides out on his trusty horse. The Seminole rider gallops across the football field with a flaming spear in his hand, throwing it into the ground at the 50-yard line, thus signaling the beginning of the game. While in Champagne-Urbana the warrior would dance in the middle of the floor to Native American/First Nations Music. This ritual is done time and time again. This act perpetuates the stereotype of violent savage behavior by the Native Americans/First Nations communities.
4) The cartoon-like characterization of mascots, i.e. Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians who dons the sleeves and hats of the Midwest baseball team. This mechanism is well known and often used during times of war to dehumanize an enemy. The result allows the entity portraying said stereotypes to further trivialize the concerns of the one being portrayed and simultaneously helps protect self-esteem by relieving guilt feelings.
This was also done to African Americans after the Civil War, in books, songs, and poems, throughout post Civil War America. The examples portray African Americans as nappy headed shiftless, shady, and lazy people, Native Americans are portrayed as wild human beasts screaming into battle and cannot be tamed, Asian Americans as very smart. These are all stereotypes used for mascots, nicknames, and logos.
5) Even the concept of having mascots or nicknames may be, in reality, an ego defense. Thus, the honoring of Native Americans, African Americans, or Asian Americans, could protect one from facing the real facts of past genocidal horrors inflicted on the very individuals they are honoring. The Cleveland Indians and the Washington Football Clubs are classic examples of this behavior.
6) Having Native or African American mascots freezes time in a period one is more conformable with, never wanting to know, or never wanting to see the truth of past historical events. America has continuously run away from historical facts while trying to sugar coat horrendous events. An example was General Armstrong Custer’s last stand in South Dakota. Native American Indians/First Nations defended their dwindling lands in this famous battle. Custer remains a hero today while thousands of American Indians/ First Nations were killed routinely in the flatlands out west just as African Americans are being slain each day in the inner city today.
7) The lack of political power, monetary power, and social power, to demand the removal of these mascots maintain the status quo of institutionalized racism at college campuses and at the professional levels. The Washington Football Club has repeatedly visited our Court system the past 10 years using it to maintain their right to keep their name.
As a Native American-African American watching college sports teams like Florida State University Seminoles, The San Diego State Aztecs, The Chattanooga Moccasins, The University of Utah Utes, and The Central Michigan Chippewas made Native Americans proud because they represented one tribe, one nation, unlike the Golden State Warriors, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, and The Washington Football Club who represented a amalgamation of a non generic group.
The future looked promising with the dismantling of Native American mascots throughout America. The University of North Dakota FIGHTING SIOUX removed their logo from all sports uniforms. UND, hockey team visits the “Frozen Four” college hockey’s final four many times.
The Marquette University Warriors in 1972 abandoned the “Willie Wampum” mascot and in the 1994-95 season changed their name to the “Golden Eagles”. The University of Saint John’s “Redmen” also changed their name to “Red Storm” in 1990. The Redmen name had nothing to do with Native Americans; it was a group of men who wore red coats around campus in a social club. The schools administration was so concerned about the Native American backlash and changed the name.
All of these fine universities and colleges are making a good faith effort to respect and honor Native Americans leaving many to question why the professional teams cannot follow suit?
The Atlanta Braves have made progress dropping all references to the Indian Head logo on their sleeves in 2008-09 and Chief Knock-A-Homa from their program in 1980. Chief Knock-A-Homa would dance after every Atlanta Braves home run, but fans of the Braves still maintain the Tomahawk Chop which no Native American Indian/First Nation waved their hands like that.
Again, this is America being insensitive to Native Americans. The Atlanta Braves continue to move forward in 2014 with the public statement that they will not wear the Screaming Indian logo caps during this season.
The Golden State Warriors basketball teams have dropped all references to Native American Indian/ First Nation and have donned the new logo of the new Bay Bridge.
Tribal leader Charlene Teters makes it clear. Cleveland is the home of the most offensive racial icon in the country,” Charlene Teters, an artist and founding board member of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media, said during a demonstration outside Progressive Field on Opening Day 2010. “Don’t insult my intelligence telling me this honors me . . . It is ‘Little Red Sambo.'”
The Cleveland Indians can keep their history but retire Chief Wahoo forever. The mental thought and attitude by the administrations of these teams have to change in Washington and Cleveland in order for these logos and mascots to be retired.
All Americans should help our Native American/First Nations brothers and sisters in this battle for respect and honor.
Activist Amanda Blackhorse has also been in battle with the Washington Football Club and the National Football League. Blackhorse, a Navajo and psychiatric social worker, is the named plaintiff in the case known as Blackhorse et al v. Pro-Football Inc., the lawsuit filed by five Native Americans. The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to cancel the trademark of the Washington Redskins could be the turning point in this 80 year conflict.
The last time the Washington Football Club and Dan Snyder appealed this case. It took the courts eight years to settle the disagreement. It will not take that long this time because America is watching. In the meantime Roger Goodell distanced himself from the conversation by stating that it’s Dan Snyder’s decision.
The walls are closing in on the Washington Football Club, The National Football League, and Dan Snyder.
The National Football League apparently knows that the ‘R’ name is incorrect because they have changed the schedule of the most contentious rivalry in the NFC East. The Washington Football Club versus The Dallas Cowboys. The league hides this game to the early or late part of the season when the game mean nothing and nobody cares.
The traditional Thanksgiving Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington stopped after the American Indian political and social movement of the middle 1970’s started.
The League can no longer hide this team because the Washington Football Club has improved. The last two years when the Burgundy and Gold have played on the road there have been morning protests before each game.
The last protest this year will be at FedEx Field in Landover, Washington on December 27, 2014, Home of the Washington Football Club. What a nice New Year’s present for owner Dan Snyder.
Here is a novel idea, The Washington Football Club could return to their original name, The Braves if the Atlanta Braves released their naming rights. This would give incentives for other professional teams to follow.
It’s not the colors, it’s not the logo, actually the logo is very majestic and noble the Washington Football Club should retain it. But the “R-Word” has to take a permanent vacation…
Please read about the former sports mascots and help (AISTM) American Indian Sports Team Mascots and The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). Some of the information in this article comes from both NCAI and AISTM web sites and I would like to thank them for the use of this information.
P.S. The University of North Dakota put their logo back on their sports jersey in 2009-10 after a long legal battle. In 2012 The University Administration Board changed its mind. Maybe the fact that their school could not play in any national tournament might have something to do with it.
On December 8, 2014 Capital High School and the Oklahoma City School Board dismissed the school’s mascot by an 8-0 vote. Four percent of the student population are Native American.
It is interesting to note that 80% of high schools and 75% of colleges have dropped Native American Indian/First Nation logs and mascots. Maybe the Federal government monies given to them had something to do with the schools and universities relinquishing these names.
The fight continues at Salmon High School, Salmon, Idaho where the mascot was dropped but the name remains in 1999. The Salmon School Board was threatened by the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media with a $100,000 lawsuit if they did not change the school’s mascot, the Savages. Members of the coalition stated that Indian mascots were derogatory especially since the name was Savages. After discussions with the board, the group decided to focus only on changing the mascot. The school board ultimately chose to get rid of the logo because it would cost more than $100,000 to fight the issue in court.
MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY
Yours truly had a week long battle on Facebook.com with Salmon High School Students and Alum about this very issue years ago. Many Salmon residents still don’t get it. The NCRSM did not go far enough they should have requested a name change as well.
Go to the web site at “http://www.lemhi-shoshone.com/salmon_savages_mascot”
http://www.Lemhi-shoshone.com/salmon_savages_mascot…To know more about the Salmon, Idaho High School logo and mascot battle.
With each passing week another high school in America drops its “Redskin” name. The pressure is mounting on the Washington Football Club to change the name and the Cleveland Indians to change the mascot.
CHANGE THE NAME – CHANGE THE MASCOT
The Washington Football Club will be moving into their new stadium in the coming years and Washington, D.C.’s Mayor Vincent C. Gray (No relations) has stated that there will be more serious discussions about the Football Club’s name before re-entering the city.
The Congressional Black Caucus has also suggested the Dan Snyder and the Washington Football Club change its name in 2013.
Even President Barack Obama has weighed in on the subject on a 60 Minutes News Magazine broadcast in 2014. That if the name offended a group of Americans that it should be changed.
The Washington Football Team should lead the way and Do The Right Thing.
CHANGE THE NAME-CHANGE THE MASCOT
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove on Blogtalkradio.com Disabled Community Activist.
©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod
THE LONG FIGHT CONTINUES