February 21, 2013

Regarding Sally Jenkins’s Feb. 14 Sports column, “It’s time grown-ups talk sense into Snyder”:

Now is the perfect time to change the Washington Redskins’ name, which many people find offensive, Native Americans in particular. Team owner Dan Snyder would do well to stop resisting it.

He could call a news conference and explain that he has “evolved” on this issue of human dignity.  He could announce a contest for a new name and colors, offer season tickets and dinner with Robert Griffin III to the winner and, in the process, gain enormous free publicity. He could dream aloud of the promise of next year with a renewed commitment and a team transformed to accomplish great things.

The economic benefits should be obvious: a new name, colors and logo would create an instant market for new team merchandise. All the old Redskins memorabilia would transform overnight into valued collectibles.

Now is the time, Mr. Snyder.  Die-hard fans will complain, but they will not abandon the team after brushing so close to glory last year.

Daniel Grogan, Harwood

Charles H. Cunningham [letters, Feb. 20] misses the point of all the “beating the drums to change the name of the Washington Redskins.” Simply put, the name is offensive; it is an ethnic slur. It is in no way similar to calling a bear a bear or a Saint a Saint or even a Cowboy a Cowboy. (Although, as a Washington fan, I do find the Cowboys offensive on general principle.)

As to whether Native Americans or any race or ethnic group should be used as symbols for sports teams, I will leave that question for another day.

Chuck Newell, Herndon

A comment in a Feb. 16 letter that criticism of the Washington football team’s continuing use of “Redskins” is “political correctness run amok” itself indicates the continuing ignorance of how European Americans (of which I am one) continue to demean indigenous peoples.

The writer stated that the name “has never been used in a demeaning and disrespectful fashion” and, for loyal fans of the team, “is a term of respect, admiration and affection.” These comments fall in line with those from the team’s general manager, who said recently that it’s “ludicrous” to suggest the franchise wants to upset Native Americans.

Such is the usual perspective of white Americans, that what is relevant is how “we feel” and what “we intend.” In other words, “we don’t intend to hurt you; therefore, you cannot and should not feel hurt.” However, the overwhelming majority of Native Americans have made it clear that they are hurt. Examine the origin and derivation of the name and you can easily see why. 

Phillip Nicholson, Silver Spring

Robert McCartney made the wrong case for changing the Redskins name for the right reasons [“Real reasons for new name, despite Redskins’ defense,” Metro, Feb. 17]. He argued that most Native Americans take offense at the name, but as an American, a Jew and a rabid fan of the team, I also take offense, because that which offends any one of us must offend us all. This isn’t political correctness but common sense.

Dan Snyder probably fears that the passion of his team’s fans would abate under another name, as though such a change would erase the history of a team led by so many legendary players. He should relax. All that is needed is a name that stirs the imagination and rallies the troops, and I have one: the Washington Power.

Power, after all, is this town’s focus. It’s a concept well served by burgundy and gold. It is given to stirring and agonizing headlines: “Power surges to victory.” “Giants stopped at goal line by higher Power.” “Power suffers late outage.” You can even rework the fight song. Hail to the Power.

Robert Honig, Potomac

Given the nebulous and goofy political atmosphere we live in and the fact that we already have the Mystics and the Wizards, why not the Voodoos? Imagine the sales of paraphernalia replete with bobbleheads and stuffed dolls.

Samuel M. Jones, Falls Church