The Washington DC based football team, formerly known as the Redskins, decided this past Monday, July 13, to officially change their name, mascot and logo, a decision that was decades in the making. However, the team’s decision to abandon their racist name and likeness was done for the wrong reasons.
It would be nice to believe that Washington finally made the change to their team name out of the goodness of the hearts of the executives of the team, or because said executives have finally realized the error of their ways and understand how the term “redskin” is offensive against Native Americans. It would be nice if ownership publicly admitted their wrongdoing for failing to recognize the outcries of not just Native Americans, but of Americans of every race and religion calling for the team to change their name.
However, Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington football team, has been adamant and steadfast in the past about keeping the team name as is. “We’ll never change the name,” Snyder told USA Today in 2013 of the “Redskins.” “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
Yet here we are, as Snyder’s football team prepares to find its new identity. If ownership didn’t change the name because of public relations, or because ownership recognized the error of their ways, then why?
Because money talks, and bulls**t walks.
As it often boils down to in this country, those with the deepest pockets usually get what they want. And when the Washington football team’s major corporate sponsors, including FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo, began severing ties with the team and asking others to do the same unless it changed the name, it got the attention of Snyder. The team first announced on Friday, July 3, that the team would “review” its current name. Ten days later, the team announced it would no longer be called the Redskins.
Snyder has handled the entire situation with an utter lack of transparency and empathy. He did not once consult any fans on the name change, as he and new head coach Ron Rivera will ultimately be the deciding minds on the name change, despite the fact that Rivera was hired just months ago. Minority owners have begun to look to sell their shares of the team since Snyder’s announcement was made.
So while there is reason to celebrate the name change of the Washington football team, there is no reason to celebrate the ownership of the team for their progressive decision to change the team after 87 long years. There is no reason to celebrate Snyder, or to believe his mind and heart have changed for the better. This was simply business as usual in a country that is controlled by the dollar, whether we’d like to believe it or not.