Opinion: Washington team’s name change will be followed by others

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Photo via Wikipedia

Many sports teams change their names to be more acceptable for the present.

Kenzie Hirt, Staff Writer

In July 2020, Washington’s football team changed from the racially insensitive Redskins name to the Washington Football Team. Now the NFL team finally has a new name, the Commanders.

Another recent change happened last November, when the Cleveland Indians baseball team became the Guardians. More changes seem likely in the future.

Team names such as the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Braves, and the Chicago Blackhawks have been called offensive to Native American people. These teams say their names are intended to give respect to Native Americans. But not everyone agrees that’s what is happening. 

While the remaining team names themselves are not racial slurs, fans who paint their faces or participate in the popular “tomahawk chop” are not considerate that this is possible mockery of Native American culture. 

While the remaining team names themselves are not racial slurs, fans who paint their faces or participate in the popular “tomahawk chop” are not considerate that this is possible mockery of Native American culture. ”

“The imagery that gets associated with those names – it’s the racist fan behavior when a fan paints their face red. That is blackface. Blackface is wrong. We … I think most people in the country get that now,” Crystal Echo Hawk, a Native American civil rights leader, said on NPR News.

Collegiate sports teams also have had to face this issue, some doing so decades ago.

Stanford changed its name from the Indians to the Cardinals in 1972, and Dartmouth went from the Indians to the Big Green in 1974. 

Even in the state of Pennsylvania, name changes have occurred. Indiana University of Pennsylvania changed from Indians to Crimson Hawks back in 2006.

Many fans find it difficult to see their life-long favorite sports team’s name being changed. But some fans also see it as a necessary thing to do to give respect to the people who feel disrespected by the names. 

A die-hard fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, Greg O’Neal, said he will support his favorite team no matter what the name is. 

“As a black man, the name should be changed. You know, I have to look at it like that. But you know, I’ll still be a fan. I don’t care who they named. They could be named anything. I’ll still be a fan of my home team,” O’Neal said on NPR News.