News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

August 17, 2013

Is it time for Redskins to find a new name?

TERRE HAUTE — Mention the Washington Redskins and names like Joe Theismann, Art Monk and Sonny Jurgensen come to mind. They were great players on great teams. Robert Griffin III might be added to the list someday as well.

But another subject has some grumbling that political correctness has reached its zenith in Washington. That is the team’s nickname — the Redskins — which has drawn claims that it carries racial overtones and draws out the NFL franchise’s history of discrimination.

I’d never given much thought to the the team’s label until Goshen, a community in northern Indiana, started discussing whether “Redskins” was an appropriate mascot for the local high school and its athletes. Many see it as a racially derogatory expression that is offensive to Native Americans.

Really, team nicknames, mascots and labels seem a little silly. I can’t give you much information about why they’re called the Dodgers or what a Catamount is. I can’t describe a Hoosier. I do know that such terms have rallied communities and, in some cases, become loved and valued identities.

The controversy in Washington has reached such a pitch that team owner Daniel Snyder discounted any possibility about renaming the team when talking to USA Today: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

Critics point to the case of the Penobscot Indian Nation whose tribesmen in the mid-18th century were tracked and killed for money. Their scalps — “redskins” — brought a nice bounty, explained Eni Faleomavaega, the delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from American Samoa, in a column for Politico.

The current chief of the Penobscot Nation, Kirk Francis, described this hunting and killing of men, women and children as a “most despicable and disgraceful act of genocide.”

His strong comment stands in contrast to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s letter to Congress, in which he declares nickname “a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”

The team and league’s support for the nickname is harder to defend in light of the past.

Redskins founder George Preston Marshall was an arch-segregationist who championed all-white teams. In 1961, he defended his whites-only policy this way: “We’ll start signing negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites.”

The Kennedy Administration recoiled and put heavy pressure on Marshall and the Redskins to change their blatantly discriminatory hiring practice. They did.

Recently lawsuits and legislation have been filed to void the Redskins trademark, claiming it is a slur and therefore cannot be legally protected. A ruling is expected anytime.

A group of Washington lawmakers has also entered the fray. Rep. Tom Cole, a staunch Republican from Oklahoma and Native American, and nine other congressmen sent a letter to the NFL and Snyder saying the team’s name needs to change. “Native Americans throughout the country consider the term ‘redskin’ a racial, derogatory slur akin to the ‘N-word’ among African Americans or the ‘W-word’ among Latinos,’’ they stated.

The NFL isn’t the only body confronting the question. The Capital News Service reports there are 62 high schools in 22 states that use the Redskin nickname. Over the past 25 years, its exhaustive study found 28 high schools in 18 states that dropped the mascot.

Only this summer, the school board in Port Townsend, Wash., unanimously voted to drop the Redskin nickname after 87 years. But in Goshen, the school board did little more than roll its eyes and move onto another subject, letting the controversy linger.

Much of this battle can be traced to a constantly evolving language, as well as a political process that now welcomes a much broader spectrum of viewpoints.

The more I learn about the controversy, the less comfortable I am with the nickname. My view has changed from ambivalent to uneasy. While I doubt many use the term in a hateful way, there’s no doubt that it’s hurtful to some.

Tom Lindley is a sports columnist for the CNHI News Service. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
SPT071114  LL BB team.jpg

Tribune-Star/Jim Avelis Team effort: The North Terre Haute Little League All-Starts won the District 4 championship by beating Clinton 4-0 Friday evening.

  • Bradley’s stellar pitching helps TH North win District 4 title

    Jordan Bradley didn’t walk a batter until the sixth inning, scattering three hits in a shutout pitching performance to lead Terre Haute North to the District 4 championship with a 4-0 victory over a tough Clinton team.

    July 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Andy Amey: Just a small trip to talk about this time

    To paraphrase Carl Spackler, the heavy stuff’s not going to come for quite awhile. So while it’s true that I’m back from a week’s vacation, it’s not time — yet — for the big vacation column. Trips to Noblesville, Brunswick and Reelsville, while providing some nice family time, don’t really have the cachet to fill newspaper space.

    July 11, 2014

  • Pacers sign three free agents

    The Pacers couldn’t keep waiting around for Lance Stephenson to make up his mind. So on Friday, they went to work. The two-time Eastern Conference runner-ups announced they had signed three free agents — backup big man Lavoy Allen, swingman C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez, a sharp-shooting forward from Europe.

    July 11, 2014

  • Odum heads for Vegas with Kings summer team

    Terre Haute native Jake Odum scored three points in the Indiana Pacers’ 84-74 victory on Thursday over the Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League.

    July 11, 2014

  • Metro sports: Rosselli, Biechler capture Prospect League honors

    The Terre Haute Rex swept the Prospect League Player of the Week honors this week.

    July 11, 2014

  • Thoroughbreds complete race card at Martinsville

    Thoroughbred races were on Friday’s card to wind up four days of Illinois racing at the Martinsville Agricultural Fair. Horses owned by Bart Baird and Lance and Stacey Holsapple won all six of the thoroughbred races on the card with two other features run for ponies and mules.

    July 11, 2014

  • LeBron James says he’s returning to Cavaliers

    LeBron James is going back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
    James told Sports Illustrated Friday that he’s decided to go home. It’s a move that would have seemed unfathomable four years ago, after the venomous fallout that followed his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat.

    July 11, 2014

  • Sports: What’s going on today

    July 11, 2014

  • SPT 071014 RAMER TROPHY.jpg Ramer, Kuppler claim junior city golf titles

    Megan Ramer and Colton Kuppler were two winners in the junior city golf tournament concluded Thursday in sunny, warm conditions at Rea Park.
    Both golfers claimed titles in the 15-17 age division for the first time while Ramer and Andrew Granda were two of the winners in the 2013 tournament.

    July 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Rex return from All-Star break with a win at Danville

    The Terre Haute Rex returned to action on Thursday in winning fashion as they defeated Danville 4-1.

    July 11, 2014

Local Interest
High School
College
Sports Columns
Pro Sports
Terre Haute Rex
Colts
clark.jpg

Auto Racing
AP Auto Racing News
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters Raw: Protesters, Israeli Security Forces Clash Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers Children Face Deportation Without Attorneys Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News