Redskins name controversy heralds another season of discontent

Sat Aug 23, 2014 12:23pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amanda Blackhorse decided one afternoon to attend a rally outside a game between the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs and the Washington Redskins.

Being a member of the Navajo nation, she felt it was her duty to protest the use of Native American monikers and logos by the football teams.

"Usually we get the hate messages in private," Blackhorse said, recalling her experience outside Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium. "This was just out in the open."

People in the crowd said "We won, you lost, so get over it" or "Go back to your reservation," according to Blackhorse.

That was 10 years ago and the Chiefs and Redskins names remain: decried as offensive by some, defended as a harmless part of sports tradition by others. In Washington, the debate over the Redskins name is particularly heated in this start to the new NFL season.

Some TV football analysts, including CBS's Phil Simms and Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy as of this week, say they will no longer use the term Redskins. On the other side, former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, a Hall of Famer, said this week the issue is "so stupid it's appalling."

"I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it because the Redskins are part of an American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins. That's the way it is," Ditka said.

On Friday, the Washington Post editorial board said it will stop using the word Redskins.   Continued...

Aug 18, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin (10) drops back to pass against the Cleveland Browns during the first half at FedEx Field. USA TODAY Sports