Anti-Redskins Protesters Escalate Pressure on Team to Change Name

June 29th, 2020 10:00 AM

Redskins logoOpponents of the Redskins nickname are on the warpath with renewed fury, combining the efforts of media, activists and politicians to call upon team members to refuse to play for Washington.

Leading the charge is Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians, an organization representing 500 tribes. She urged Redskins players to refuse to play for the team or any other team with a racist nickname and demanded the team change its name now. Her comments are appearing all over the sports blogosphere, thanks to left-stream writers.

Sharp says the team's "racial slur" can no longer be removed by its tone-deaf ownership because the stain is permanently fixed:

"It is an insult that can no longer be retracted, a sin that can no longer be erased.

"Since it’s too late to give the team name up, it’s time for it to be taken.

"It’s time for the players to rip down that name like it was a statue of a Confederate general in their locker room.

"I am calling for members of the NFL franchise in Washington, D.C., to rise to the occasion and become heroes. All I ask is that you state the unequivocal moral truth: just as you would never play for the Washington [insert any other racial slur], you will no longer play for any team branded with a racial slur against Native Americans.

"As long as that team name stands, players of conscience should sit at home rather than wear the NFL equivalent of the Confederate flag."

In Chris Baud's Deadspin story, Sharp says anyone who refuses to play for the Redskins will empower activists while denying the “plutocrats who have ignored decades of Native Americans’ pleas the chance to engage in an intelligence-insulting, carefully choreographed dance of belated wokeness at a time of their choosing.”

Woke Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is among the politicians piling on the Skins in this renewed attack against their nickname:AOC Redskins tweet 

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the delegate to Congress from the District of Columbia, vows Snyder won't be building a new stadium for the Redskins in Maryland or Virginia. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser demanded a nickname change, too.

Baud concluded his story by saying Snyder has made a fortune off racist branding and also trashed the team for a past calendar shoot requiring its cheerleaders to pose topless in front of team sponsors. 

Jesse Spector contributed to Deadspin's double-pronged attack on the Redskins this weekend, relating how the late Washington NBA owner Abe Pollin changed his team's nickname from "Bullets" to "Wizards" after his friend, Israel Ambassador to the U.S. Yitzhak Rabin, was shot and killed in 1995. Both men had a "strong social conscience." The team was named after a Baltimore ammunition producer, Spector says, adding:

"Ultimately, that’s what it takes to get a team name changed: the owner’s conviction that it’s the right thing to do. In Pollin’s case, that meant for reasons of social conscience. For Washington’s NFL team, which Robert Pollin himself has called on to change its name, it probably will mean something else."

Spector says it isn’t like Skins owner Daniel Snyder is unaware of the racism "baked into the franchise he has owned since 1999, and it’s not like it’s impossible to get Snyder to bow to public pressure on racism issues." Recently the Skins removed the name of team founder "and inveterate racist George Preston Marshall" from a seating level at FedEx Field.

Pressure on Snyder will mount with the future release of a documentary by Aviva Kempner and sports writer/ESPN Around the Horn panelist Kevin Blackistone called "Imagining The Indian." They plan to debut the film at next year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Blackistone speculated on what could move Snyder to give in to the anti-Redkins crusade: the other 31 teams' owners pressuring him to do it, or if the fanbase demanded change by not renewing season tickets, "or if players of color in the league, who we in the media have made so many people believe have been politically agitized in the past few years, say they’re not going to play for a team like this anymore or play against a team like this anymore."

Lefty activist and women's national soccer team member Ali Krieger also denounced the Redskins, tweeting, "We are not equal until all our communities are equal. Change the name." She compared the Redskins name to Aunt Jemima, the Confederate flag and monuments.