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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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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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