1/1 Letter to the Editor: Rethinking NFL names


What is in a name? What makes a name offensive? There has been much ado made over the years of Washington's football team name "Redskins." Over the past several months this topic has picked up speed comparable only to a pack of cheetahs chasing a Roadrunner.

In the Reader's Digest book, "Americas Fascinating Indian Heritage," it says the name Redskin is "inspired not by their natural complexion but by their fondness for vermilion makeup, concocted from fat mixed with berry juice and minerals that provided the desired color. The men would streak their faces and bodies with bright red ocher and bloodroot."

With this definition you could make the case that the Redskins on field play is more offensive than the team's name.

However, since the name Redskins does not insensitively refer to the color of one's skin, but to the war paint that covers one's skin, I feel that if we still feel the name is offensive we should take a closer look at other team names throughout the National Football League (NFL). 

• Minnesota Vikings: Vikings famously raided the seas and are claimed to have raped and pillaged villages before burning them down to the ground. The name is offensive and should be changed.

• New England Patriots: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell desperately wants to expand the brand of American football to England. However, a rebel alliance known as "Patriots" defected from the ruler of England. To them this name is offensive and needs to be changed.

• Chicago Bears: Bears have been known to eat people. Plus, two bears around Jellystone park have been known to steal picnic baskets. This name is offensive and needs to be changed.

• Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys used to kill Native Americans. That's not very nice. This name is offensive and needs to be changed. Speaking of which....

• Kansas City Chiefs: The name "Chiefs" pays homage to the Native American Chief. Oh wait, as we learned with the name "Redskins" this is offensive and needs to be changed.

• Oakland Raiders: Raiders are pirates. Pirates raid the seas. See Vikings, above.

• Tampa Bay Buccaneers: See Raiders then see Vikings, above.

• San Francisco 49ers: Named for the people who left their homes and families and traveled to San Fran for the possibility of riches during the Gold Rush of 1849. I bet the families left abandoned would find the name offensive, so it needs to be changed.

• New York Giants: This could be considered insensitive to short people. Change? Yup!

• Green Bay Packers: Cheese is high in Cholesterol. High Cholesterol is bad for you. This name is offensive and should be changed.

• Detroit Lions: Lions, Tigers, and Bears.... Oh my! See Bears. Also do the same for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, and Carolina Panthers.

 • Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, and Philadelphia Eagles: All are birds of prey. If you are prey then you would find this offensive, so it should be changed.

 • Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens are not named after the bird, but for the poem made famous by Edgar Allen Poe. Poe met his demise in part from years of alcohol abuse. Not really a great role model. Offensive. Change it..

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines sarcasm as: the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really want to say especially in order to insult someone, to show irritation, or to be funny.

Austin Adams

West Point