Jun 12, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; A general view of some hurdles with the Washington Redskins team name on them during mini camp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Native American Author Calls Roger Goodell “Cowardly” on Washington Redskins Name Issue


The issue surrounding the naming of the Washington Redskins has heated up this offseason as widespread debate between the NFL, the United States Congress, Redskins owner Dan Snyder, and the general public on whether or not the Redskins name should be changed has reached a boiling point.

Still nothing really has changed for now as the Redskins have the support of commissioner Roger Goodell and by all accounts will enter the 2013/14 season as the Redskins. Having Goodell’s support is huge for Dan Snyder is his fight to keep the team’s historic name and avoid a huge loss in merchandise sales, but it has drawn some criticism from the Native American community directed at the head of the league.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has defended the Washington Redskins’ nickname by saying that it “stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.” Native American author Mark Anthony Rolo says he and other Native Americans don’t see anything respectful about it and want the Redskins to change their name.

In a column published by several papers as part of the McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Rolo said that Goodell’s statement can’t hide the fact that the name of one of the NFL’s 32 teams is offensive to Native Americans.

Goodell’s offensive reply is not only cowardly, but it is also an antiquated defense reminiscent of those who refused to recognize other pop culture stereotypes such as Little Black Sambo and Frito Bandito,” Rolo wrote.

Rolo suspects that the real motivation of Goodell and Redskins owner Dan Snyder is simply that they’re worried that a name change would cost the league merchandising money, money that is worth continuing offending Native Americans. In a story about the Redskins controversy in the New York Times, marketing experts suggest that there may be truth to that, and having to change names could cost the team millions. With those costs in mind it is highly unlikely that the league and the Redskins name are going down without a fight.

If the Redskins lose their trademark protection in the courts, it may turn out to be financially damaging to the team to keep its name, as it would no longer be able to control its own merchandising, something that would likely be the coup de grace in the Redskins branding. With a group of Native Americans currently challenging the Redskins’ trademark on the grounds that a racial slur cannot be trademarked Dan Snyder and the NFL are on the hot seat.

If the team loses that battle, it may decide to change its name not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the right thing for the bottom line. That is how the end to this very negative situation is going to sadly be achieved. It is sad enough to see Dan Snyder trying to justify the Redskins name after so many complaints, but the NFL following suit makes this whole situation even sadder. I don’t think the Redskins name is going away any time soon, but to the group that is currently fighting Dan Snyder, it will go away before they quit fighting to allow a business to make money off of what they feel to be a racial slur.

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Tags: News NFL Washington Redskins

  • Silvia Arredondo

    Wow… People are so sensitive about everything. Why is it disrespectful to be proud to me a redskin? I would say the redskin organization is praising the native american culture.

  • ed rock

    I can’t believe the comment I just read the term Redskin is derogatoryin the same vein as wetback or nigger the word Redskins just as offensive to me as a Native Americans as those terms are to those races it is insulting that the team continues to disregard the fact that they are insulting Native Americans because there are enough of us left to cause a big enough problem for Roger Goodell and the NFL

  • Crusader10

    Oh, wahhh! I didn’t get my way. I think I will demand that the Saints change their name. After all, how can a team in Sin City of the the South, and has been caught putting bounties on other teams’ players, be called “Saints” I demand they be called “Sinners.”

  • Angel

    New name. The Washington Generals

  • Keith Powell

    madam I am a die hard redskins fan since I was 7 years old, I am so use to the that name that its sounds just natural to me!!! but that being said the name is racist !!!!!! RED-SKIN it not nice!!!!! and it is disrespectful I am so torn do you really think in the early 1900 that they name a football team in honor of native american!!!!!! its not being sensitive at the end of the day they need to change the name

  • Keith Powell

    I agree
    You know this country as great as it is !!!!!!!
    Just have people who just have a racist mentally
    born of a racist system
    and can’t not see pass there own nose
    does matter how many people were hung in the woods in the old south
    or who land they have took!!!!
    people now don’t get mad
    this is just the true
    but i believe they are good people who just see it for what it is!!!
    WRONG . DEROGATORY,

  • Raider Grant

    Out of all the injustices the native american communities have suffered throughout the years, this is what makes head lines??? I read an USA Today post’s comments in regards to the same subject matter & its sad that so many people think so poorly of Native American’s. I read comments posted by almost every ethnic background you could think of. I know these individuals don’t speak for their entire race, but what was sad was the majority of the comments were seriously negative, and for the one person that would speak up in defense of Natives ten more people post negative comments in regards to their comment(opinion). Land of the Free & Home of just about everyone except NATIVE AMERICANS! Go Raiderrrrs!

  • Keith Powell

    I agree except for the part about the raiders my friend!!!!! lol
    CHANGE THAT NAME!!!!!!!!
    HOW BOUT THE WASHINGTON NATIVES!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sir Tin Man

    Them Gringo’s bottom line is the loss of them federal reserve notes… It’s the only reason why they haven’t changed the name. The Redskins owner feels the way he does he should donate millions to all of the Native American organizations to show some real respect to the people his organization is offending.

  • nhale

    Keep the name, change the mascot to a russet potatoe. They are all a bunch of spuds anyway.