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Republican Congressman: Redskins Should Change Their Name

Oklahoma Republican Tom Coe says that the Washington Redskins should change their name:

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — One of only two Native American members of Congress said that the Washington Redskins should change its team name because it is racially offensive to the minority group.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, said on Thursday that he finds the name, a racial descriptor for indigenous Americans, deeply offensive and feels strongly that it should be changed.

“Come on. This is the 21st century. This is the capital of political correctness on the planet,” he said. “It is very, very, very offensive. This isn’t like warriors or chiefs. It’s not a term of respect, and it’s needlessly offensive to a large part of our population. They just don’t happen to live around Washington, D.C.”

He noted there is precedent for changing a name: The Washington Bullets changed its name to the Wizards out of sensitivity to the high rate of murders in the city. Other offensive ethnic terms attached to team names would not be tolerated, Cole said, so neither should this.

“It’s a great football team with a great football tradition, and it shouldn’t have a name that’s derogatory to Native Americans attached to it,” added Cole, who said he roots for the team’s chief rival, the Dallas Cowboys.

Cole was for a long time the only Native American in Congress. That changed this month when Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., a member of the Cherokee Nation, was sworn in.

I’ve personally never felt strongly about this one way or another, my only position on the Redskins as a lifelong Giants fan being that they must lose as much as possible, but Cole does seem to have a point here.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. TheColourfield says:

    I’m looking to buy an NFL team for LA. As a new owner my proposed names are:

    LA Darkies
    LA Yellowskins
    LA Kikes
    LA Ragheads (Coulter is looking to invest)

    I’m sure they will be acceptable

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  2. Rafer Janders says:

    If they do change the name, which they should, I’ve got the perfect new one: The Washington Insiders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  3. David says:

    This season I think the Chiefs should have changed their name. Their play was offensive to native Americans everywhere. (yes, I live in KC). I do agree that the redskins should change their name. Surely they can come up with something a little better in this day and age.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. PJ says:

    On the subject, the Atlanta Braves are bringing back the Screaming Indian

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. jd says:

    If they moved FedExField about 100 yards to the East, they could be the Washington OTBs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  6. Geek, Esq. says:

    It’s akin to having a team known as The Darkies or The Slant-Eyes or the Hook-Noses.

    The name is a legacy of Jack Kent Cooke, a rightwing racist a-hole plutocrat of the highest magnitude.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  7. stonetools says:

    I vote for the Washington Warriors.

    Still, I believe that native Americans have been polled on this and a majority are OK with the name.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  8. TheColourfield says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    To add to your point, the original fight song lyrics show the history of the franchise:

    Hail to the Redskins !
    Hail to victory !
    Braves on the war path !
    Fight for old Dixie !
    Scalp em, Swamp em,
    We will take em big score !
    Read em, Weep em Touchdown,
    We want heaps more !
    Fight on… Fight On…
    Til you have won,
    Sons of Washington !

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Gustopher says:

    Given how few Native Americans play for the Redskins, I think they should at least update their name to a more appropriate racial slur. Washington Whiteys and Negroes (and assorted other ethnic groups)?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  10. stonetools says:

    @TheColourfield:

    Its fight for old DC, not Dixie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  11. Franklin says:

    Like Cole, I find Redskins offensive and non-redeeming, but some others are okay and respectful. It depends on the presentation and intent, although one could argue that it should really depend on the group or group(s) who are potentially offended. Some institutions have reached out to the local tribe whose name is being used as a mascot, and that’s a good thing (if they truly listen).

    But what about the Fighting Irish?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. TheColourfield says:

    @stonetools:

    It is now but it was changed. Dixie is the original.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. rudderpedals says:

    I like Washington Insiders, Washington Americans, and Washington Federals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  14. Rafer Janders says:

    @stonetools:

    Still, I believe that native Americans have been polled on this and a majority are OK with the name.

    How on earth was that poll done? No Native American I’ve ever met has been OK with the name.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  15. Rafer Janders says:

    @rudderpedals:

    Also the Washington Incumbents, the Washington Elitists, the Washington Bureaucrats, and the Washington Unnamed Sources.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  16. Mikey says:

    The Washington Gridlock, in honor of both the political situation and the horrendous traffic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  17. PJ says:

    Washington Cronies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  18. swbarnes2 says:

    Also note that once again, the only Republican who can even see a problem is the one who is personally affected.

    The only Republican who wants to make sure mental health care is available? The one whose daughter needed it. The only Republican who thinks that virulent anti-Arab sentiment is bad? The one married to an Arab. Cole would probably say nothing against anti-Arab race baiting, Norquist doesn’t care about the Redskins.

    It’s just how conservatives are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  19. rudderpedals says:

    Any love for the Washington Windvanes? The Philanderers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  20. Tyrell says:

    The Redskins have a great tradition: Jurgenson, Kilmer, Riggins, Mosely, Huff, George Allen, Theismann, Lombardi, Green, and many other greats. It doesn’ t matter to me what they are called. My main desire is that they win. Also, Joe Gibbs and Rich Petitbone. I would like to hear from others their all time favorite Redskin players and coaches.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  21. matt says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighting_Whites

    I like it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Tyrell says:

    @stonetools: Thanks for pointing that out. It is a great time whenever we hear “Hail To the Redskins!”. May it be played often. I wonder if the team name is ever changed how that would effect the greatest fight song of all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. ernieyeball says:

    How about the Washington Thinskins!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. matt says:

    @ernieyeball: Gets my vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. John Peabody says:

    The old recordings of the Redskins fight song include little snippets of “Dixie” in the background…one of our local radio hosts plays it now and then.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. Franklin says:

    @swbarnes2: And then there’s Dick Cheney who has been okay with gay people … ever since he found out he had a gay daughter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. Tyrell says:

    My old school’ s emblem was the “Braves”. A few years ago the school board made them change that because of some misguided individual on the school board. Ended up costing the taxpayers about $50,000, a large sum back then (equal to starting pay of 3 teachers). This was the cost of changing all of the scoreboards, signs, and repainting of new school colors. I could go along with some sort of rule for new schools, but existing schools should be grandfathered in because of the cost factors and to respect the alumni.
    We were really put out by this decision in that the school board and officials never bothered to ask us: all of the former students and supporters!! It is our school too!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. Jc says:

    I think Kornheiser had a good solution. Change the logo to a Redskin Potato. Problem solved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  29. ernieyeball says:

    @Jc: Change the logo to a Redskin Potato.

    That will work until their offensive line gets mashed and the defense gets hashed!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  30. grumpy realist says:

    @Tyrell: And if the team had been named “The Spics” you would have merrily gone along with that?

    It’s “traditional” to call people quite a few things that we now consider beyond the pale. I don’t see why we should worry about the poor bruised feelings of some alumni simply because it’s “traditional”. They’re going to have to learn that things change. Poor babies.

    (Myself, I think that “The Braves” is one of those on-the-line decisions. Was the person who complained someone of Amerindian descent?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1