Should the Washington Redskins change their name?
Established in 1932, the Washington Redskins have been the professional sports darling of the D.C. area. But some say the term “redskin” is anything but cute.
"The name is the worst name we can be called in the English language...," explained Dr. Suzan Harjo, who is of Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee descent.
Two-thirds of sports teams using Native American names and/or logos have been changed in the last decade. But 1,000 still remain, with Washington's football team at the top of the list for many.
For University of Arizona professor and member of the Navajo nation Manley Begay, the mere mention of the word takes him back to racist taunts he heard as a child.
"After each filthy name he said "redskin"...'You Stinking redskin, you dirty redskin'... And so forth and so on, and that's where it takes me back...," Begay said.
Thursday, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian discussed racist stereotypes in American sports, both at the collegiate and professional levels. They hosted a day-long panel on the matter.
Sports fan Christi Sullivan says she thinks these team names show respect to Native Americans, not prejudice.
“They were here first before we were, so I think it’s kind of an honor to them,” Sullivan says. “A lot of the streets and towns have Indian names, so you'll have to change everything.”
Many, however, feel the opposite.
“Never been taken back by it, but I can see where it would be offensive,” says sports fan Paul Owens.
The Redskins are a money maker. According to Forbes magazine, the team is the second most valuable franchise in the NFL, valued at more than a$1.5 billion.
The skins are also one of the highest grossing teams in the league, meaning a change in name might be bad for business.
“I think because of the demands of business and the reality of it, it would be probably another 50 years before it did change if it ever did,” says sports fan Melody Tally.
The Redskins organization is not responding, issuing a two-word statement of "no comment."
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