This may be the last year for the storied Cowboys-Redskins rivalry. This week the Oneida Indian Nation put serious public pressure on Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the name of his franchise. We’ve seen these types of demonstrations before, but this one feels different. For one, the President of the United States got involved.
Aug 19, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins cornerback E.J. Biggers (30) is shown with the NFL heads up logo on his helmet before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
In an impassioned plea, an Oneida spokesman decried the mascot’s “very serious cultural, political, and public health consequences for my people and Native Americans everywhere.”
Cultural and political implications are easy to see, but one can only guess at the very serious public health consequences associated with an NFL team name. Perhaps it’s a massive collective muscle strain from bending over backwards to portray victimhood.
Whatever the case, Snyder faced an all-out blitz of criticism this week. The Oneidas are mounting advertising campaigns in every city the Redskins visit this season. Politicians are falling over themselves in a race to express righteous outrage to any working TV camera. Even President Obama took time out while speaking of the government shutdown and the national debt ceiling to voice his support for a name change. That’s how big this has gotten.
Snyder issued a statement defending the Redskins mascot, citing his reverence for history and tradition, and making the case that the mascot is intended to honor, not disparage. The statement was both conciliatory and defiant, but it’s only a matter of time now before the franchise caves. Once the White House weighs in on something like this, the writing is on the wall. If nothing else, the other NFL owners along with Commissioner Roger Goodell will make it happen. Business is business.
Fortunately, there is a compromise that can change the team’s mascot and protect to some degree the franchise’s tradition.
The Washington Hogs.
It’s a name that means something special to all ‘Skins fans, and harkens back to an era when they were a dominant NFL powerhouse. They could change their logo to a fiercely tusked boar, and keep the two Indian feathers.
Sep 15, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Kathleen Peters from the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin protests the use of the Washington Redskins mascot and logo at Lambeau Field before game against the Green Bay Packers. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
As a compromise, it’s perfect. For the fans, the Hog permanently enshrines a proud part of the franchise’s history; the feathers defiantly preserve a cherished part of their tradition. The Oneidas get to bury the Redskins name forever.
If they’re offended by the two feathers hanging from the Hog’s head, well, that’s the nature of compromise – no one gets everything they want. It’s a big world, and folks of all kinds need stretching room for their feelings. Life’s too short – find some happiness.
So everyone wins, except Cowboys fans. It’s Cowboys and Indians, right? It’s a rivalry that means something to Cowboys fans, and it’ll mean a little less once the Redskins are sacrificed at the altar of political correctness. It’s an odd thing, but for all the years of bitter animus, Cowboys fans shouldn’t want to see their biggest rival humbled this way.
Time’s change, though, and this thing’s gonna happen. Let’s hope they don’t completely re-imagine the brand into something lame like the Warriors or the Griffins or the Renegades, all of which have been suggested. Keep tradition alive, if on a respirator. Go Hogs.