Mike Wise [Sports, Sept. 17] claims that the name "Redskins" was derived from the team's coach at the time being a Native American. This is dubious at best.

In the 1930s, then-Redskins owner George Preston Marshall named the team the Boston Braves, after the baseball team of the same name. After a couple of nonproductive years, he changed the name to the Redskins. The Native American motif originates from the patriots who dressed up as Mohawk Indians during the Boston Tea Party and the Native American on the Massachusetts state flag. The burgundy and gold uniform comes from the red colors common to colleges in the Boston area.

Marshall did not change the team name to "Redskins," as Wise suggests, because his coach was Native American. That was simply an interesting coincidence. He changed the name because the Revolutionary War heroes of the Boston Tea Party were known as "Redskins." He was honoring Boston's history while keeping the team colors and the Native American motif intact.

I am not suggesting that the current use of the name Redskins is right or wrong. I am suggesting that Wise used an inaccurate depiction of the genesis of the football team's name to make his point.

-- Charlie DeSando



I could scarcely believe my eyes when I read George Solomon's Sept. 18 Sports column chastising Redskins fans at the Chicago Bears game for making too much noise while the Bears were trying to run their offense. Perhaps Solomon should limit his comments to golf or ballet.

Crowd noise, as a means of disrupting the visiting team's offense, has always been a part of football. It is laughable -- in fact, embarrassing -- that Solomon suggested that an NFL team would be penalized for excessive crowd noise.

There is still a rule on the books concerning excessive crowd noise, but it is never enforced (probably because someone smart realized it's part of the fun of going to the game).

Also, the rule calls for warnings to the crowd, a loss of the defense's timeouts if the noise continues or, when no timeouts remain, a five-yard penalty -- not a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, as Solomon said.

I hope that our opponents take Solomon's foolish advice and simply "step back and wait for the noise to subside." That way, they can be hit with a delay-of-game penalty, which, of course, is one reason we made so much noise in the first place.

-- Michael Haslup