Public sentiment against the Washington Redskins team name and mascot seems to be picking up steam — but what of the Redskins organization itself? In recent posts to the official website Redskins.com, the franchise's PR team seems to be joining the fray.
On February 11, Redskins.com ran a piece addressing the issue that drew jeers from sports blog Deadspin in a post titled "Washington Redskins 'Proudly' Defend Their Name In The Dumbest Way Possible." The Redskins.com piece points out that many high schools use the Redskins team name, and includes comments from a couple of high school administrators who feel the name is a source of "pride."
The article does not explain how the opinions of non-Native high school coaches and principals, however proud they may be, makes the term any less hurtful to the people it describes.
Further, the implication that such opinions can inform the judgment of an NFL franchise may strike some readers as a topsy-turvy, highly selective argument. If the Redskins are truly soliciting opinions on the value of their Native American name and logo, there are plenty already out there — from the Native American community itself. An NFL team seeking and publishing commentary from a non-Native high school coach in Ohio while ignoring the voluminous criticism from such groups as the National Congress of American Indians could rightly bee seen as, well, offensive.
Despite the ridicule from Deadspin and other sports blogs, Redskins.com may be adopting "proud to be a Redskin" as a theme; the pieces "McLoud High School: 'The people of our community are proud of our Name.'" (published yesterday) and "Lamar High School: 'Once A Redskin, Always A Redskin'" (published today) feature more tales of pride in the Redskins name at the high school level.
Judy Battista, writing on the New York Times' Fifth Down blog, professed the same puzzlement as others: "As a response to a festering controversy, this is an odd one."