Columnist: Take ‘Redskins’ down: Shame on the NFL for still looking the other way

The Washington Redskins name has been criticized and last week a federal judge ordered the Patent and Trademark Office to cancel registration of the team’s trademark, ruling that the team name may be disparaging to Native Americans. Alex Brandon/Associated Press file photo

DETROIT — The world has changed, just like that.

Long-standing wrongs are falling everyday; even the dreaded Confederate battle flag isn’t welcome anymore. Even NASCAR, where that flag has been a fixture among race fans, has had a change of heart, a come to Jesus. NASCAR CEO Brian France called the flag an “offensive and divisive symbol.”

Better yet, NASCAR isn’t just saying it’s ugly. The sport is also looking into how it can reduce the flag’s presence among fans who fly it in the infield during its races, and they’re not alone. The University of Mississippi began to change their image and presence of the flag in the stands more than 10 years ago.

That’s taking action, not playing both sides.

Yet the NFL continues to turn its head, look the other way.

The Washington Redskins name and logo is offensive. It always has been to Native Americans and remains so today.

It’s sad. It’s hurtful. It’s criminal.

The only thing worse than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ignoring this problem is that black players continue to just go along with another injustice. Shame on them.

This isn’t a Native American problem. A blatant injustice against anyone in this country is a problem for us all. Just look at photos from the “Black Lives Matter” and “Change the Mascot” movements and it’s evident that injustice can be addressed by people of all colors, gender, ethnicity and age.

We should all be treated the same and respected whether we are the majority or the minority.

Here’s a perfect opportunity for Washington owner Daniel Snyder to do the right thing and follow the leads of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and NASCAR.

To this point, Snyder, who can’t give a good reason as to why he won’t change the racist name, has been a holdout. He told the media it won’t happen under his watch, emphatically stating “We’ll never change name. NEVER - you can use caps.”

NBC sportscaster Bob Costas took on the controversy on a national broadcast between Washington and Dallas this past season. “It’s an insult, a slur,” Costas said.

Even conservative newspaper columnist Charles Krauthammer, not big on political correctness, wrote it was offensive and should be changed.

But the lame NFL Player’s Union hasn’t said a word. So sad. That organization stands for nothing, never has.

African-Americans wouldn’t stand for a team that was called the Alabama Sambos. Heck, the restaurant, Sambo’s, was forced to change its name.

Why should we accept Redskins when we know what it stands for. It’s unacceptable. The name is clearly offensive, not a sense of pride for Native Americans.

It shouldn’t be just journalists and reporters staging protests. Some reporters, including Sports Illustrated NFL columnist Peter King, have even refused to write or say Redskins.

This situation could be fixed quickly even if the league and the owner won’t act. Advertisers could easily pull sponsorship money from the team and refuse to partner with a racist team name.

The players wouldn’t have to wait long to get a result, either. If they refused to play, Snyder would have no choice but to change the name. There’s no way they could replace the players who refused to play.

The NFL couldn’t have Washington forfeit games. It would cost the team and league both millions of dollars.

That’s how you get change for people not ready to change with the times. You hit them in the wallet.

In 2000, NFL players played the Super Bowl in Atlanta with the Confederate flag on the Georgia state flag flying in stadium.

In protest, black sports writers walked out of the press box and refused to honor that flag.

Through pressure, Georgia got a new flag in 2003 without the Confederate emblem on it.

To his credit, Dale Earnhardt Jr., one of NASCAR’s biggest stars, condemned that flag. “It’s offensive to an entire race,” he said.

The same can be said about the Redskins name.

It wouldn’t be the worst thing in a world to change a team name. It has happened before. Fans will get over it and cheer their team no matter what.

It happened in Washington as recently as 1995. Then-owner Abe Pollin changed the Washington Bullets’ name to the Wizards.

Pollin had compassion and didn’t want to be associated with the name anymore after so many were killed by gun violence in D.C.

That’s an owner who didn’t worry about profits, history or stand on silly principle.

Snyder should follow suit. The world has changed a lot recently.

Snyder should change, and get, with it.

Parker is a Detroit-based columnist for The Shadow League. You can also follow him on twitter robparkerlocal4.

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