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NFL Washington Redskin

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For decades, American Indian activists and others have been asking, urging, and haranguing the Washington Redskins to ditch their nickname, calling it a racist slur and an insult to Indians. They have collected historical and cultural examples of the use of redskin as a pejorative and twice sued to void the Redskins trademark, arguing that the name cannot be legally protected because it’s a slur. (A ruling on the second suit is expected soon; the first failed for technical reasons.) A group in the House of Representatives also recently introduced a bill to void the trademark. The team has been criticized from every different direction, by every kind of person. More than 20 years ago, Washington Post columnist Tony Kornheiser, no politically correct squish, urged the team to abandon the name

Today, the mayor of Washington, D.C.—the mayor!—goes out of his way to avoid saying the team’s name.

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There is a decades-old controversy over the Washington Redskins’ name and recently it has come back into the news in a major way. The Washington Redskins, a National Football League (N.F.L) team, has had their name for eighty-one years and has been criticized for using the term “redskins,” which is a derogatory term for Native Americans. A few months ago, fifty United States Senators signed a letter asking the N.F.L. to push for a name change of the Washington D.C. football team

In June 2014, The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revoked the trademark of the N.F.L.’s Washington Redskins for the second time. In 2013, the Smithsonian National Museum of the Native American held a symposium called Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports which explored the mythology and psychology of sports stereotypes and mascots. And last October, President Obama said, “If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team—even if it had a storied history—that was offending a sizeable group of people, I’d think about changing it.” Because the term “redskin” is considered a slur by Native American people and others, it has almost disappeared from common usage. However, it is still a strong presence in sports, although even in the sports world, its use for team names and mascots has been on a steady decline. There are strong opinions and feelings on both sides of the issue as to whether the Washington team should change their name.

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As has been noted, one of the NFL's oldest and most-storied franchises, the Washington Redskins were founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves. The team changed its name to the Redskins in 1933, and in 1937, the team relocated to Washington, D.C

and immediately won the first of its five World Championships. In addition to NFL Championship Game victories in 1937 and 1942, the Redskins have won three Super Bowls, culminating their 1982, 1987 and 1991 seasons with Super Bowl titles.

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