”Reclaim the Name” Petition Wants The Redskins Name Back in Washington. American Indians Are Included
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Remember how the Washington Redskins lost their team name and are now called the ”Commanders”?  There’s a movement to bring back the Redskins name.

A petition to change a controversial NFL team name is nearing 40,000 supporters as of Tuesday morning [August 1].  The Washington Commanders, formerly the Washington Redskins and briefly the Washington Football Team, dropped the ”Redskins” name in 2020 amid widespread racial tension following the murder of George Floyd. The move drew criticism from fans who are now pushing to restore the team’s historic moniker [Reclaim the name’: Petition to reverse Washington Commanders name change earns nearly 40K signatures, by Jackson Walker, The National Desk, August 1, 2023].

George Floyd died so the Redskins had to change their name.  Makes perfect sense.

“The name ‘Redskins’ carries deep cultural, historical, and emotional significance, honoring the bravery, resilience, and warrior spirit associated with Native American culture,” the petition reads. “It was never intended as a derogatory or offensive term but as a symbol of respect and admiration.”

”Changing the name abruptly disregards the positive legacy that the Redskins name has built over the years and disorients the passionate fans who have invested their emotions, time, and unwavering support in the team,” the petition adds.

Petition supporters also expressed disappointment with the new name, calling it vague and unrelatable.

”The name ‘Commanders’ fails to capture the essence, tradition, and historical weight associated with the Redskins. It lacks the uniqueness, emotional connection, and pride that our team’s original name embodies,” the petition reads.

Petition creator Daniel Fazzolare told The National Desk Tuesday the new team identity didn’t sit right with him.

“I’m dissatisfied because they said, ‘They would take the fans input and not mess with the color scheme.’ They didn’t listen to the fans and they messed up the color scheme. As a fan I feel like we’ve been disrespected with this rebrand,” he said.

I’ve been a Redskins fan my whole life and with the rebrand it just doesn’t feel right. I knew there had to be other people out there that felt the same way I did. So, I made the petition,” Fazzolare added.

Though he suspected others felt the same, Fazzolare said he didn’t expect such significant support for the petition.

“I’m very surprised about the reaction to the petition, but I’m happy that it has taken off recently,” he said.

The movement to ”reclaim the name” includes real live American Indians.

Fazzolare added that the Native American Guardians Association (NAGA) supports restoring the team’s old name. Andre Billeaudeaux, a NAGA representative, said in 2022 that the old Redskins logo was ”not offensive.”

The petition’s success comes at a period of deep uncertainty for the Washington franchise. After a recent transition in ownership, Magic Johnson has hinted that the team could rebrand again as soon as 2024, Sports Illustrated reported. Johnson now holds a minority stake in the team.

Corporate pressure was a factor in the name change.

The Washington football franchise moved to change its name in response to pressure from big name corporations such as Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo. Making the change was crucial, many stakeholders believed, so not to alienate Native American fans.

Wait a minute.  If American Indians were already among the team’s fans when it was called ”Redskins,” how could they be alienated?

Those in favor of the change said the name “Redskin” was offensive and perpetuated harmful racial stereotypes, despite 90% of Native Americans disagreeing with this claim, according to a 2004 University of Pennsylvania study.

Longtime fans of the team felt changing the name amounted to virtue signaling, with some citing a report by linguist Ives Goddard claiming the word Redskin was a direct translation of words Native Americans used to refer to themselves.

After deciding to change its name, the team went by “Washington Football Team” for its 2021 season while team administrators considered possible new names. During this time, speculation swirled that the team could go with names like “Armada,” “Red Wolves” and “Presidents.”

”Presidents” as a mascot?  That’s pathetic.

The team finally decided on “Commanders” in February 2022. Rather than acknowledging the racial controversy surrounding the change, a press release on the new name instead highlighted a connection to the rich military history of the Washington D.C. area.

With the new name also came new uniforms bearing the word “Commanders” across the chest. Critics of the name change saw it as a nod towards communism, noting its similarity to “commie,” shorthand for “communists.”

On the other hand, in today’s political environment, maybe ”commies” would be an appropriate name for a D.C. team.


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