Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins addressed the media in Ashburn on Wednesday while wearing a T-shirt featuring the buffalo nickel. The classic coin, which was designed by James Earle Fraser and circulated from 1913 to 1938, had a profile of an American Indian on one side and a buffalo on the other.
The T-shirt, featuring Redskins colors, is one of several for sale on Cousins’s recently redesigned website, KirkCousins.org. While the design will likely appeal to numismatists, why, exactly, is Cousins selling it?
“The buffalo nickel that was made back in the day, it says 1920, and I thought it was cool,” Cousins said when asked about the shirt Wednesday. “Our equipment managers pointed it out to me, and it looks an awful lot like our Redskins logo. We put it on a shirt and we’re selling them at my website, but yeah, it’s kind of fun.”
Earlier this season, Cousins showed WUSA sports anchor Darren Haynes the contents of his locker, including a buffalo nickel sweatshirt the Redskins’ equipment managers gave him.
Cousins’s buffalo nickel T-shirts are available for $29.99 and, as with the “You Like That!” T-shirts that he sold during and after the 2015 season, some of the proceeds will benefit the International Justice Mission.
“We definitely are going to give a portion to charity, to IJM, and yeah, just kind of have fun with it and we’ll see where it goes,” Cousins said.
“This city and team are both built upon rich histories,” reads the description of the shirt on Cousins’s site. “The Buffalo Nickel is a historical form of currency that was used throughout the U.S. until 1938. Rep a piece of history with this design!”
The profile of the Indian on the buffalo nickel does look a lot like the Redskins’ logo, which first appeared on the team’s helmets in 1972. The late Walter “Blackie” Wetzel, the former chairman of the Blackfeet Nation and president of the National Congress of American Indians, told The Washington Post in 2002 that he took pictures of Indians in full headdress to the Redskins in 1971 and encouraged them to change their helmets, which featured an “R” with feathers at the time.
“I said, ‘I’d like to see an Indian on your helmets,’ ” Wetzel said.
As of 2014, Wetzel’s descendants disagreed about whether the Redskins’ name is offensive.
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