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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Granddaughter Of Redskins Founder Says Team Name Should Go

A Washington Redskins helmet is pictured during their game against the Oakland Raiders on September 29, 2013, in Oakland, California. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

A Washington Redskins helmet is pictured during their game against the Oakland Raiders on September 29, 2013, in Oakland, California. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Washington Redskins open the pre-season tonight against the Patriots.

That means sports writers and commentators will again face the question of what to do about the team’s name. A growing number of high-profile critics say it’s offensive to Native Americans and should be changed. But the team shows no sign of caving to pressure.

One person who has made up her mind on the issue is writer Jordan Wright. She’s the granddaughter of the original Redskins owner, George Preston Marshall. After years of mostly staying out of the debate, she’s come forward with an opinion: the Redskins name should go.

“It’s time to move on. It’s a different era. We’re all aware, we’ve been told that this is a derogatory term, and it’s time to change it.”
– Jordan Wright

“I think the way to go is to acknowledge that it’s time to move on,” Wright told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson. “It’s a different era. We’re all aware, we’ve been told that this is a derogatory term, and it’s time to change it.”

Wright says there wasn’t the same context back when her grandfather chose the name, and she hopes the team’s current owners will listen to critics rather than cling to their history.

“What I hope fans will come to understand is that the team’s history will not go away,” she explained. “You can’t alter the past. But history and justice make strange bedfellows. It’s important to right a wrong. Nations have done it, team owners have done it and schools all over the country have done it — and I venture to say that they haven’t lost a fan because of it.”

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  • chipshot410

    Oh, my! Planes being shot out of the sky, Ebola gains ground in Africa, Gaza is a tinderbox and we’re worried about the nickname of a football team? GET A GRIP! If ya don’t like the name, don’t go to their games….and spend your worry time on something that might matter!

    • UncleCoconut

      EXACTLY!!!

    • Rick

      And you know that if the granddaughter had decided that she liked the name.. you never would have heard about it on this show!

    • MasterCylinder

      This type of reply is so predictable. In someone’s eyes there is always something more important to “worry” about. I guess you are the arbiter here.. when can we talk about racist names of sports teams? when there are no more wars and diseases? Let us know when it is ok with you.
      People with “a grip” realize the reality is.. people are capable of hearing about and discussing more than one issue a day.

  • Rick Childs

    Of course the Washington Redskins should be allowed to keep their name! IF, they change their logo to a potato.

  • Erick Forsyth

    While I understand much of the sentiments of those opposing the name, I found it peculiarly misguided that Jordan Wright, when asked about the Redskins recent foundation to aid Native Americans, responded that it didn’t matter, that a word was more important than actual efforts to help the community she seems to be advocating. In an era when African-Americans now identify as “Black” (a similar group name based on a reduction to skin color), is a term based in skin tone MORE important than tangible efforts to uplift a marginalized segment of society? I believe we are creating a more sensitive culture, but one that seems to be more about talking sensitively while doing nothing. When liberalism is relegated, or even mostly focused on talk and meta-talk, we are missing the big picture.

    • Jeffrey Yorke

      Erick, I don’t think this is “liberalism.” I think it is reversed racism. Or anti-corporate sports. Or just plain idiocy. As Jordon Wright said, her grandfather had no malice for Native Americans nor did he intend that. American Indians and all things related to them was (and is today) a great source of pride, a cause for celebration. It is only those in search of a cause now accusing those who find Redskins a source of pride to be racists. Frankly, it’s their problem. To those lost souls: move along, there is another, far-more-important cause to take up — go find it. And if there is a name change coming, let it be the Prince George’s Redskins.

      And by the way, George Preston Marshall died 45 years ago this Saturday. I doubt Jordan Wright had too many conversations with her grandfather to find out what was in his head and heart. But, opportunity knocks. – Jeffrey Yorke, Cheverly, MD

      • eyevariety

        Your warped reality is incredible. Way to paint history to align with your views. Hopefully that doesn’t carry through to your professional practice. How is it honoring them to use a disparaging term that they themselves do not approve of? It’s not their problem at all. Its the football team’s problem- 100%.

  • Skeptic

    It’s great when proponents of a mascot name like ‘redskin’ say that it recognizes the skill and bravery of Native Americans and [they] should be honored that a mega-sports franchise uses such a name. Like the old Lone Ranger joke punchline, ‘What do you mean ‘we,’ kemosabe?’ If this is such an insignificant issue, then there shouldn’t be any problem in changing the name, right? It’s the proponents,not the opponents, like team owner Daniel Snyder that are making a big deal out of it almost to the point of illogical opinions if not apoplexy. Here’s an idea: Change the name to the ‘Lakotas,’ one of the tribes involved in defeating Custer. Now, THAT I could support.

  • eyevariety
  • C R

    I am a life long ‘Skins fan, but I refuse to use the racist red part of the name. Just drop the racist red, and go with Skins or Pigskins. The first footballs were made of pig skin and bladders, and they could even do a shout out to ” the Hogs” and have a cool Hog icon on the helmet.

    You can say it is tradition, you can say you don’t want to change it, BUT YOU CANNOT SAY IT IS NOT RACIST.

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