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Old 10-05-2012, 02:37 PM
Location: Fishers, IN
4,331 posts, read 4,833,016 times
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Personally, I think the Washington Crackers would be hysterical! That said, the NCAA has a rule now that schools that use native american tribe names as their mascot must get permission from that tribe. So I believe it was the University of North Dakota had to give up their nickname the Fighting Sioux. But the Seminole tribe stood very proudly behind Florida State using that as their mascot, including the guy dressed up like an indian on horseback. I have no idea if there are any college schools called the redskins. I'm sure nothing with nicknames will ever change in pro football however. For the record, my high school nickname was the redskins. Maybe they got away with it because there was an attached junior high school called Whiteman Junior High. Seriously.
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:06 PM
882 posts, read 1,813,552 times
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Well, as a DC area resident for these many, many years, I find the 'skins name offensive - since I loathe the team (Go Ravens!)
As a "name", though? I'm not offended in the least (and yes, I've the DNA test to prove ancestry, unlike many/most "advocates" and professional grievance mongers who are whiter than Ms. Warren, but that's another topic...). I'm more "offended" by those who pretend that they care @ my sensibilites, but who then feel free to dismiss me if I don't agree w/them.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:01 PM
Location: Wyoming
9,662 posts, read 17,922,969 times
Reputation: 14489
I've never understood those who feel offended by having their ancestors' race, tribe, country or whatever used as a team name. I'd be honored. Heck, I AM honored. Teams' names are selected to give the team honor by associating it with the name -- Fighting Souix, Braves, Chiefs, for example. To most of us these were men of honor and strength. If not, the name never would have been selected for the team.

My maternal grandpa was Bohemian, making me 1/4 bohunk. I think it's cool that Dublin has a "football club" called the Bohemians. I'm half Irish. I'm not at all offended by "the Fighting Irish". If anything, it makes me proud of my heritage.

Somebody explain why it's considered derogatory.
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:57 AM
16,724 posts, read 21,460,722 times
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I'm going to lock this thread until tomorrow afternoon so we can all cool off a tad here. I was hoping we wouldn't get involved to this level. Seems as though we've had a thread(s) on this issue before.

I'm going to weigh in on this issue myself this weekend. BTW, there is an active thread on the Washington D.C. forum that deals with this issue.

Thread re-opened. Will watch the responses closely though. No personal attacks!

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 10-07-2012 at 09:46 AM..
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:54 PM
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First off, a little background regarding the Redskins early beginnings.

Though they go back to the NFL's early beginnings, they weren't a charter club, starting out in Boston in 1931 and was known as the Boston Braves. George Preston Marshall moved the club to Washington D.C. The next year. Marshall named William Dietz head coach of the club. Dietz had a fair amount of football background, playing college ball at Carlisle college in Pennsylvania, an Indian school. He was a teammate of NFL HOFer and Native American Jim Thorpe. He later coached a few college clubs, a couple of those would be Louisiana and Wyoming universities. Dietz's mother was a full blooded Lakota Sioux which over the years was questioned by some Native American activists, one of them being Susan Shawn Harjo. More on her in a little bit. Though the nickname Braves already was associated with Native Americans, Marshall changed the name of the club to Redskins.

In the early 1990's (I'm thinking 1992) a group of natives led by Susan Shawn Harjo, a Cheyenne NA activist, filed a complaint with the government, specifically the TTAB (Trial Trademark Appeal Board.) Probably the most recognized name of these people tied in with Harjo would be Native American Vine Deloria Jr., a Lakota Sioux, who authored the book Custer Died For Your Sins. Back to the TTAB, it is a government agency/panel that is responsible for hearing trademark cases in the U.S. Patent/Trademark office. Around 25 years previous to this date, most NFL clubs had already concluded getting legalities in line regarding this subject, Washington of course being one of them. About that same time the AFL-NFL merger was finalized.

Harjo and the others claimed that the term "Redskin" was offensive and disparaging to natives. According to many natives the phrase is from the early years of American history where colonies, companies , and land barons would pay settlers to bring back indian scalps. It wasn't doable to bring back the bodies so payments would be made as to the amount of scalps that were brought back. And obviously the women and childrens scalps didn't pay as much as the men, but payment was still made. At that point according to the activists the term "Redskins" and indian scalps would be tied together.

It took several years for this complaint to be heard. The appeal board agreed and ruled in favor of the activists. Right afterwards the Redskins filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. In 2003 judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly overturned the ruling, ruling against Harjo, stating that the description of disparaging nicknames was not supported by "substantial evidence." She remarked that "If the name was that offensive, why wasn't this suit filed earlier?" as the problem with the case in regards to "time limitations" according to what I've read.

Harjo and her group appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court a few years later. And apparently the judges didn't even go to a vote on it, refusing to hear the case because of the time limitation challenges which was noted in the district court ruling. They ruled on one end of the suit (time limitation-aka in legal circles as "barred by laches") but did not comment on the allegation of "redskins" being a disparaging nickname. BTW, the term "lache" means an unreasonable delay pursuing a right or a claim in a way that prejudices the (opposing) party.

It appeared at that time, to me anyway, that this ordeal wasn't over at all. And apparently that's what happened as there is another suit going on here-"Blackhorse vs. Pro Football." that was filed a few years ago.

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 10-07-2012 at 12:39 PM..
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:15 PM
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Thoughts on the original owner of the Redskin franchise;

"I'll start signing negro players when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing white players."

That is one of just a bundle of George Preston Marshall one liners. He was the last NFL owner to have a black player on his club, be it player, administration, what have you. He had owned the Redskins since 1931 and was able to get by on break even seasons for the most part. In 1937 he signed one of the biggest, if not THE biggest player in club history in regards to stature- "Slingin' Sammy" Baugh out of TCU. He was a special player not only for D.C. but the league. He was the first quarterback to really BE a quarterback. And the years he went both ways on O and D? He was all-pro throwing the pass, an all-pro defending the pass, and one year averaged over 51 yards a punt, which is an NFL record that still stands. He was one of the few players in NFL history who would be besieged by fans for autographs in all games, not just home games. He was an attraction, a special, special player. Marshall had him for 17 years including the WW-II years, as Baugh had a huge cattle ranch and secured an agricultural deferment from the U.S. government through his draft board.

When Baugh's career wound down by 1953 the Redskins as a team wound down to the basement of their conference. And stayed there for a decade. Marshall's stance of keeping the football club lily white cost him in more ways than one. When the remaining teams of the AAFC (All American Football Conference) joined up with the NFL, there were clubs that suddenly had several black players on their squad. Not so with the majority of NFL teams who at that time had just a few here and there. An exception to that would be the Baltimore Colts. Owned by Carroll Rosenbloom, by the late 50's the Colts black players would include HOFers Lenny Moore and Jim Parker. Added to that was Lenny Lyles, Johnny Sample, Eugene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb, Sherman Plunkett, and a couple others. Coincidentially the '58 and '59 Colts would be NFL champs.

Back to Marshall. A new administration came to town in 1961 and ran big on a campaign of civil rights, of equal opportunity-- the Kennedy administration. The Kennedy's were just floored by Marshall and his attitude toward blacks. After a couple meetings went nowhere the administration went to the next step. Only a couple months previous one of the great moments in NCAA history occurred. A black player was awarded the Heisman Trophy-- Ernie Davis out of Syracuse. A couple weeks after the presentation Davis was invited to the White House, obviously a huge thrill for him.

Shortly after that Kennedy assigned Stuart Udall, who was the Secretary of the Interior, to meet with Marshall. That went nowhere so after that they notified Marshall that he was in jeopardy of getting kicked out of D.C. stadium if he didn't start employing blacks. And Marshall still refused. Pete Rozelle had been the NFL commissioner for just a short time after the sudden death of his predecessor Bert Bell and saw a huge public relations problem going down. Rozelle knew about PR, when he first got into the NFL he was the PR director for the L.A. Rams. When this hit the nations papers, well, it was something. I was just a kid in junior high school but I remember that ordeal. It was embarrassing for the NFL and doubly so for President Kennedy. Finally Marshall caved.

But in his own way. As his was the club with the worst record in the NFL (again), the Redskins drafted Ernie Davis number one and soon afterwards traded Davis to the Cleveland Browns for Brown halfback and future HOFer Bobby Mitchell, and another player. Marshall's response? "If I have to take a ni**e* it will be the one I want and NOT the ni**e* they are forcing me to take." Yep, that's the way it went down. Disgusting.

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 10-07-2012 at 09:52 AM..
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:31 AM
Location: The "Rock"
2,551 posts, read 2,467,953 times
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I was aware of Marshall's stance on black players. But for some reason I thought George Allen had a similar belief and contributed to that stance. I have not idea why... Maybe I just associated him with the ideal since he was more visible.

Having said that... The history of the team's name makes more sense when you tie in Marshall's stance on black players and employees. I appreciate you tying those things together for us. It sheds a lot of much needed light on it and gives us the context to actually understand why things are just not as absolute as "People are too sensitive".
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:09 PM
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Google in "ESPN Classic-Allen, A teacher, a winner." It tells a lot about Allen's association with Deacon Jones. A lot!

True story about Deacon. He was a 14th round draft choice from a small black college. Lived in the segregated south. Coach Allen worked with him from day one in training camp when Allen became the Los Angeles Rams head coach in 1966. Deacon said in an ESPN interview once that one night Jones was looking in the L.A. phone book and saw dozens and dozens of David Jones's in the white pages (his given name was David). It dawned on Deacon to change his name which certainly would get attention.

When George Allen was replaced as head coach of the L.A. Rams by Tommy Prothro, Jones was traded to San Diego soon after. In Deacon's last season he played for George Allen's Redskin club. They remained close friends. When Deacon was voted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame George Allen was the presenter. When Allen passed away Deacon was one of the pallbearers at his funeral IIRC.

And that friendship carried over to Allen's daughter. One of her sons is named Deacon.

add: BTW, on next Wednesday, the NFL Channel is going to show the next one hour bio "A Football Life". It's about the L.A. Rams "Fearsome Foursome." Ought to be good!

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 11-07-2012 at 03:27 PM..
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:11 PM
Location: SF Bay Area
13,343 posts, read 17,944,146 times
Reputation: 19670
Frankly, I don't care how the NFL Washington Redskins got its name and I'd rather leave it up to Native Americans to determine whether it is an ethnic slur.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:12 PM
Location: Indianapolis
3,675 posts, read 7,981,513 times
Reputation: 2337
Today being Columbus day got me thinking.. How is Columbus Day still observed as a holiday? That should be even more offensive to folks given his history and what he stood for and what he did when he discovered America, right?

I don't know, the wheels have been turning... Great posts above Double H!
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