The folly of buying into cancel fever

The folly of buying into cancel fever
Washington Redskin logo

Washington Redskins, we hardly knew ye. The team, which was christened the Redskins in 1933, announced today that it retire its 87-year-old name and Indian head logo.

The Associated Press reports that the name change is the result of “decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans,” but the more likely reason, as the release notes later down is money:

FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America all lined up against the name. … On July 1, FedEx threatened to pull out of $205 million stadium naming rights deal and issued a statement asking for a change to the controversial name. (RELATED: Cleveland Indians to ‘determine the best path forward’ for team name)

As for what the new name of the team will be, that is a work in progress owing in part to trademark issues. But possible replacements have been floated. The Washington Post offered a list of possible names that included Redtails, Pigskins, and Americans, while current Redskins Head Coach Ron Rivera said he would be favorable to a name that pays “tribute to the military.”

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Wherein lies the rub. Once a change has been made to mollify the cancel culturists, other demands are sure to follow. Sure, go ahead — name the time after the military. Then sit back and watch all the haters of the military come out. Ditto for “Americans” in this current political climate. Ultimately, objections to Pigskins (think PETA), Redtails, and any other name the team comes up with are sure to be rejected once the money has been expended on new uniforms, helmets, and fan merchandise.

Another problem with buying into cancel fever over the name Redskin is that the fever runs highest not among American Indians but among American liberals. In 2016, sportscaster and authority on race relations Bob Costas read Indians the riot act for not finding the name Redskins as offensive as he did. Costas pointed indignantly to a Washington Post poll that revealed that “Nine in 10 Native Americans say they are not offended by the Washington Redskins name.” “Every dictionary,” he lectured, defines Redskin as an insult, a slur, a derogatory or pejorative term. That is what separates it from names like Chiefs, Braves or Warriors, which are not, by definition, offensive.” If Costas would like to back up that claim with a little cash, I’ll take the bet.

I think the best move for the Redskins would be to change their team name to the “Oklahomans.” I realize that geographically this is problematic, but the name has a nice Indian ring to it. Besides, Oklahoma derives from the Choctaw words okla and  humma, meaning “red people”

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.