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Redskins To Change Their Name, Not Those Redskins

Washington Redskins

The eradication of “Redskins” is ongoing. Well, outside the NFL, at least. Canisteo-Greenwood high school in Canisteo, N.Y. is choosing a new mascot for its sports teams. The school district does not want to be “the last” in New York State to use the name.

The Canisteo-Greenwood effort began when an official from the New York State Office of Native American Services, formerly known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, called former Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey A. Matteson last month. Matteson told Clemens the state worker claimed only three New York State school districts use the term Redskins for team mascots.

Canisteo-Greenwood “doesn’t want to be the last school district in New York State with that name,” the official told Matteson, according to Clemens.

That news dovetailed poignantly with the letter NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent to the Congressional Native American Caucus, informing them “Redskins” was not offensive.

“The Washington Redskins name has thus from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context,” writes Goodell. “For the team’s millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America’s most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”

“Redskins” is often portrayed as a delicate or complex matter. It isn’t. It’s a sports team. Change the name. “Redskins” is a deprecating reference to skin color. It is, fundamentally, racist. There is no “context” where that is acceptable. As offensive is a group of, predominately, white men sitting together in a room defining what others should find offensive.

[Photo via USA Today Sports]
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