What's in a name?

Oct. 8, 2002, midnight | By Zach Mellman | 21 years, 1 month ago

The Washington Redskins have represented D.C. for 70 years. The name has been a staple of professional sports in the area. Unfortunately, in today's absurd "P.C." world, the future of the name is in jeopardy. Created as the Boston Braves in 1932, the team has three Super Bowls and produced 20 Hall of Famers. In 1933, when the name was changed to the Washington Redskins, the team was coached by Lone Star Dietz, who was part Sioux.

When you discuss the Washington Redskins, if you begin to think about giving American Indians diseases and then killing or displacing them, instead of the organization itself, you might want to consider professional help. I believe that the term, when used in The Washington Redskins, is as much of a slur as the word "colored" is in the name of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The reason that teams such as the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs and the Florida State Seminoles choose to name their teams after American Indians is because the names refer to Indian toughness and tenacity. The teams chose those names because Indians represent brave, fierce warriors, not because of the injustices inflicted on Indians by the white man.

The belief that changing the name will alter anyone's perception of the word "Redskin" or of Native Americans is completely ludicrous. When the Bullets changed their name to the Wizards in '97, did Washington's homicide rate steadily decrease? Of course not; a name is just a name.

Shakespeare wrote, "What's in a name?... That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." He would agree that altering the name "Redskin" would not shift national viewpoints on American Indians.

Not only would changing their name dampen the team's great tradition, but changing the Redskins' name would force the team to produce new uniforms, apparel, and countless other merchandise, which would cost millions. I can think of countless better ways to spend that money, such as feeding the needy, curing diseases, or signing a really good guard.

Since the "Wizards" have been taken, I can't wait to root for "Washington Dragons", or start singing "Hail to the Sea Dogs," can you? I didn't think so.

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Zach Mellman. Zach Mellman was born on October 18, 1956 (he was held back once or twice). He has lived in Takoma Park, Maryland his entire life. He is currently a senior at Blair enrolled in honors classes. He is also a member of Blair's golf team, … More »

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