Weigh In: Are Native American Sport Team Names An Honor or Offensive

The debate over whether sport team logos with American Indian names are offensive or not is not a new one. I remember years ago certain high schools changing their names from this or that title related to Native Americans. But the debate continues: are names like Washington Redskins or Cleveland Indians and their logos offensive?

President Barack Obama has recently commented on the Washington  Redskins’ name, saying in an Oct. 5 interview with The Associated Press that,  “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 sizable group of  people, I’d think about changing it”

Many that oppose the change say it’s no big deal, or in fact it’s an honor to the culture. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defends the Redskin name as the embodiment of  “strength, courage, pride and respect” in a letter he penned in June responding to the 10 members of  Congress who had earlier urged team owner Dan Snyder to change the name of the  team. Team owner, Snyder has repeatedly vowed to never change the name, and I certainly do not think that even appeals from the president will change his mind.

There have been reports in Sports Illustrated Magazine for example that say a majority of the protestors aren’t even of Native descent in the first place. Does that make their argument any more or less invalid?

denver invaders washingtonredskinsblackhawks kcchiefs

I recently came across this picture that tries to make a point that similar style logos and names of different cultures might not be as socially acceptable as for instance the Cleveland Indians logo.

Would you wear any of these hats?

Would you wear any of these hats?

Native Americans certainly aren’t the only cultures represented in cartoon form in logos- but seem to be the most protested.

celtics NE patriots 2 NE patriots raiders vikings

canucks

Vancouver Canucks- often thought of as a derogatory name for Canadians

fighting irish

Can you think of any others?

What do you think? Are these Native Indian based team logos any less or more offensive that others and should they be eliminated? I will say that we(Americans) have great attachments to our sport team names and logos and I don’t see teams like the Braves or Redskins changing their team names anytime soon, as their owners have stated. I’d be surprised if they ever changed, but I could see them possibly in the future deciding to alter the character on said logos to be more politically correct. An example of this is the Atlanta Braves who have changed their old logo depicting the face of an Indian to a tomahawk.

original braves

braves

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2 responses to “Weigh In: Are Native American Sport Team Names An Honor or Offensive

  1. I don’t understand what is so offensive about the logos. I don’t think they should change the names. People get their panties in a bunch about EVERYTHING these days.

  2. OFFENSIVE. Deeply offensive. Respecting the various cultures within the US is not “getting their panties in a bunch” it’s called the golden rule.

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