Controversy over mascot maintains its momentum

The National Football League (NFL) once again finds itself in the midst of another controversy, as the name of one of its teams, the Washington Redskins, has come under fire.

Despite Redskins owner Daniel Snyder vowing never to change the name of the team, there has been much debate over whether the name is offensive to Native Americans.

A number of protests have been directed at the team as many Native American groups, lawmakers and civil rights activists have argued the name is a racial slur.

The opposition isn’t just limited to these groups either, as many St. Edward’s University students view the Redskins name unfavorably.

“The Redskins mascot is insensitive to Native Americans and is an example of America’s ignorance to our history and the genocide that Native Americans had to go through,” sophomore Joey Gathe said.

“I think that we should take into account what Native Americans think about the name of the Redskins,” sophomore Karli Enriquez said. “If Native Americans feel it is offensive, then the name should be changed.”

However, much of the American public believes that the issue is overblown. In a recent poll done by ESPN, 79 percent of voters said the name should stand, a sentiment that is also shared by some politicians.

“For us to stand here and debate the names of football teams so that we as Americans who treasure the freedom of speech can now have the right to not be offended, is offensive,” Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of California said in a statement in 2013.

A Native American group has launched a photo campaign against the Redskins name, a project backed by the National Congress of American Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation of New York’s Change the Mascot Campaign.

The main goal of the project is to show what Native Americans are proud to be. The campaign has already been effective in California, as the state’s assembly has already voted on the issue, urging the Redskins to change their name.

The Redskins have been under a lot of pressure to change their name by the government. Federal Communications Chairman (FCC) Tom Wheeler thinks the term is “offensive and derogatory.”

The Patent and Trademark Office also claims the name is offensive, even going as far as cancelling the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration.

While this may be viewed as the government overstepping its bounds, one thing is for sure, whether it is Snyder or one the Redskins’ many corporate sponsors, somebody is eventually going to blink first.