So, it appears, do fans of the team. Despite its poor performance so far this season (the Redskins’ record is 1 and 4), ticket sales to home games are slightly higher than last year’s, and not even a 57% rise in the cost of some season tickets has shortened the waiting list for would-be subscribers.
Nevertheless the protests and boycotts continue apace. Included among the naysayers are President Obama and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall, who remained fiercely loyal to the 81-year-old team name until about a month ago when he did a 180.
The latest effort to shame Snyder into changing the American Indian theme is a political cartoon in New York’s Daily News by Tom Stiglich. The illustration is a triptych comprised of what the caption informs us are “archaic symbols of pride and heritage.” From left to right, we are given a swastika, a Confederate flag, and the Redskins logo.
The message is plagued by several problems, beginning with the adjective archaic, which implies that these symbols have fallen out of favor. In point of fact the so-called Stars and Bars is still prominently displayed south of the Mason-Dixon Line, where it is widely viewed as a symbol of southern pride. Southerners are aware that many in the North link the flag with slavery but shrug that interpretation off as erroneous.
A bigger problem with the cartoon is that if you take the three symbols in their most malevolent historical contexts, the swastika and Confederate flag are linked respectively with genocide and slavery. Both practices are stains on the nations that practiced them.
But the Redskin logo has no historical antecedent. It was not used by American settlers from Europe, some of whom abused the native peoples they found when they arrived on these shores. Rather, it was created in 1972, forty years after the franchise began play as the Boston Braves.
The debate will likely continue even though only 11% of those queried in Associated Press-GfK poll found the name/logo offensive. 79% supported retaining both.