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The origin of the name ‘Redskins’

by Chase Stuart on February 28, 2013

in History

The uniform worn by the Boston Redskins in 1935

The debate concerning whether the Washington Redskins should change its name has resurfaced in recent weeks. I have my opinion as to whether a name change is appropriate, but nobody cares to read that. Instead, I’d like to recount the history behind the name.

The nickname ‘Redskins’ predates the team playing football in Washington. The organization began playing football in 1932 — in Boston — under the nickname Braves. That was changed in 1933 to Redskins, and the franchise moved to Washington in 1937.

So where did the name Braves come from? The NFL was a fledgling league in the ’20s and ’30s, and teams in that era often chose names synonymous with the local baseball team. George Halas saw the success of the Cubs and named his team the Bears. When the Portsmouth Spartans moved to Detroit in 1934, the name “Lions” made sense for a city that already loved the Tigers. Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants began playing in New York in the 19th century, so it didn’t take the football team long to come up with a nickname in 1925. Like the Giants, the Boston football team simply copied one of the baseball team’s names — and they didn’t pick ‘Red Sox’. In 1932, the Atlanta Braves were still playing in Boston at Braves Field, and since that’s where the football team was scheduled to play, I imagine the team spent all of several seconds coming up with a name.

So how did the baseball Braves get its nickname? According to Wikipedia, the team’s owner, “James Gaffney, was a member of New York City’s political machine, Tammany Hall, which used an Indian chief as their symbol.”

So the Washington Redskins played at Braves Field as the Boston Braves in 1932, in essentially a “do what it takes to stay profitable” move. But on July 5th, 1933, Washington President and Owner George Preston Marshall announced that the team was undergoing a name change. Here is what the Boston Globe published on July 6th, 1933:

FOOTBALL BRAVES BECOME REDSKINS

It will be the Boston Redskins, and not the Boston Braves when the National Football League season gets under way next Fall. When Pres George Marshall entered an eleven from Boston in the professional football league last year the team was naturally christened the Boston Braves, but yesterday, just before starting for Chicago to attend the League’s annual meeting, he announced the change in name.

This new name is rather appropriate in more than one sense. The head and since the close of the 1932 season Pres Marshall and Coach Dietz have signed up a number of Indian players.1 Not only that, but the Boston National League ball park has long been called the Wigwam.

Some baseball player wearing a Boston Braves jersey in 1935.

Some baseball player wearing a Boston Braves jersey in 1935.

Regardless of the specific reason for the selection of the name, the move was likely uncontroversial. In 1921, the Cleveland football team was coached by Jim Thorpe and known as the Indians before folding. The next Cleveland expansion team two years later also called themselves the Indians but then merged with and into the Canton Bulldogs after one year. The Akron Pros renamed their team the Indians in 1926, which was also that franchise’s final season. In 1931, another Cleveland Indians team was born, but it lasted just one year, a common occurrence in Depression-era America. Of course, all four Ohio teams were surely trying to piggyback off of the success of Cleveland’s baseball team.

And Jim Thorpe coached and starred in a team composed entirely of Native Americans called the Oorang (Ohio) Indians in 1922 and 1923. So it seems unlikely that anyone batted an eye at the name “Redskins” being chosen by Marshall.2 And as the Globe’s article points out, the home stadium for the team was known as the Wigwam (and for a brief period when the baseball Braves were known as the Bees, the “Beehive.”) But that didn’t last long, either, because fifteen days after the name change, the Redskins announced that they were moving to Fenway Park. Here is what the Boston Globe printed on July 21, 1933:

REDSKINS’ FOOTBALL TEAM TO SHIFT TO FENWAY PARK

Fenway Park will be the scene of the home games this Fall of the Boston Redskins, formerly known as the Braves, the local club of the National League of Professional Football, George Marshall, president of the Redskins, announced last night.

In his communication Mr. Marshall emphasized that the change was made solely because of the more intimate advantages of playing in the Red Sox park, where the gridiron may be plotted closer to the grandstand and pavilion seats, and the 5000 temporary field seats are almost flush with the sidelines.

Disassociating the team with the Braves didn’t seem like a good reason to remove the Native American association. Perhaps ‘Redskins’ was chosen instead of ‘Indians’ to make fans think of their new co-tenants, the Red Sox, or perhaps Coach Dietz had some influence on Marshall. I’ll note that in 1980, another account of the situation by the Boston Globe indicates that while the events may have been publicly been announced in that order, the cause and effect may have been reversed:

When the “baseball Braves” hiked the rent for 1933, George Preston Marshall moved his club to Fenway Park and was faced with a dilemma. He didn’t want to give his former landlord the satisfaction of retaining their nickname, but his team’s uniforms were imprinted with Indian insignia.

Marshall solved the problem with a practicality and shrewdness that would become his trademark. He dubbed his team the “Redskins,” a name he kept when he moved his roadshow from Boston to Washington four years later.

The Native American Chief pictured on Babe Ruth’s Braves jersey sure looks similar to what the Redskins wore that year, so the explanation that Marshall already had his uniform in place (and modeled after the Braves) and thus needed a nickname to fit it makes sense. Whatever the reason behind the name change, it certainly didn’t work: the team struggled to gain acceptance in Boston. Attendance sank within a few years, and in 1936, the team regularly played in front of fewer than 5,000 home fans. After looking at Chicago and Los Angeles, Marshall eventually settled on bringing his Redskins to Washington and Griffith Stadium, home of baseball’s Senators. The franchise was an immediate hit both on and off the field, thanks in part to the drafting of Sammy Baugh in 1937. Had that not been the case, the organization would have likely folded… or perhaps Robert Griffin III would today be a Senator.

  1. As hard as it might be to believe, that sentence was not the result of a typo on my behalf. I’ll also note that the authenticity of Lone Star Deitz’ Native American heritage has been a point of contention. []
  2. In Boston’s inaugural season, the team rostered Corrie Artman, who played for the Stanford Indians in college. Yes, before Stanford was nicknamed the Cardinal, they were known as the Indians. []

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Allen February 28, 2013 at 12:58 am

“I have my opinion as to whether a name change is appropriate, but nobody cares to read that.”
False.

But thanks for sharing this instead.

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gemma August 19, 2014 at 7:36 pm

guess we should stop halloween too God forbid someone of different race dress as M.Jackson,President Obama,George Washington,Lincoln,,,OOHHH an indian.why stop there stop all Holidays research all holidays and names they all came from some origin, culture, race .what nationality are you?? would you be upset if someone dressed up as you,? dressed like your familys ancestry,?used your name?STOP THE CHILDISH STUPIDITY.OH wait it’s not our children causing all the hate ,It’s the so called grown-ups.

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Ben Stuplisberger February 28, 2013 at 10:13 am

Change it. That’s my opinion. I’m sure nobody cares to read it. ;)

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brad June 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Stuplisberger is much more offensive. I have friends named Berger and they are not Stuplis in any fashion.

My last name is Dickey. I should change mine as well. Every person in america with a penis could justifiably be offended at my name. I should change it now and avoid the rush.

You are being niggardly with your use of words. OOOPS there is another one. Because someone wants to make it offensive, screw what it means, it’s judged a bad word.
Definition of niggardly (adj)
Bing Dictionary
nig·gard·ly[ níggərdlee ]
not generous: very reluctant to give or spend anything
small or inadequate: very small or inadequate in quantity
in stingy way: in a miserly or stingy way

My step mother and 90% of my surviving family are American Indian, OR since they aren’t from India and that is offensive, First Natives, but wait, NATIVE insinuates unrefined, so First Indigenous Peoples, I think that is ok. Guess what, every one of them roots for their first or at worst second fave team as the redskins.

Someone asshole found five people that are offended.

That’s like ONE person in a county being offended at the Decalogue on the wall in the courthouse. The ONE PERSON bends the law to suit them, screw the rest of the world.

Proof, liberal dumbasses insist the world runs THEIR WAY, not in any semblance of fairness. Which, would be ok, if they could just get past the dumbass part…

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Ben Bollman June 18, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Shhhhhh!!! Let’s not let logic get in the way of a lynch mob.

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steven June 18, 2014 at 9:46 pm

“My step mother and 90% of my surviving family are American Indian” So are you a tribal member of a tribe or just heritage? I am a tribal member of a recognized nation and my nation as well as the Navajo and the Oneidas are against it. We are recognized Nations and we find the name offensive. That word came about when Ny, Nj, Connecticut and Pa offered bounties on Native scalps. Neither men, women or children were spared. Our ancestors didn’t not call ourselves that name as you have been told. For one thing, we didn’t speak english.

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Brad June 18, 2014 at 10:16 pm

No, Steven, thus the word “STEP” mother.

So you are a tribal member. That’s great. That makes you smarter than me or something. Got it. That means you are 175 years old and experienced what your ancestors went through? Or are you just like me and grew up with TV’s and luxuries?

They are Choctaw, in my “step” grandmother’s family there are around 145 people counting her kids, their kids and their kids, and her sister’s family…

Choctaw is recognized. Not a one of them are VICTOCRATS. They aren’t offended by the name. The words the oldest son said before he died, was, “The name wasn’t chosen to be used in a malicious way, so why seek out angst that wasn’t given?” I guess you are JUST AS OFFENDED when a black person raps the N word speaking of another person? Really? You gotta be. If not…..

THE TEAM OWNER OF THE REDSKINS DID NOT TAKE IT IN HONOR OF ANYONE TAKING SCALPS. The name is ancient on that football team. And it’s only been in recent years, 80 years after it’s inception that it’s made so many people butt hurt. You’d think if it was so offensive those that lived it, would have been the more offended, eh?

Steven, if someone denigrated you, with malicious intent, I’m pretty sure I’d be in their face before you were.

But, I’m not going to support victocratic, opportunistic shit.

The use of the N word in Hip Hop culture, is a fine demonstration of how the INTENT of the word, determines it’s offense. I bet, out of 1 million people, you would be hard pressed to find TEN bigots against First Indigenous peoples. I can find more than you can towards me and I’m white.

Caucasian, Christian, Conservative, Coherent….. I’m the from the ONLY group in America it’s ENCOURAGED to pick on, and I’ve born NO RACE offense in my life.

So, waaaaa friggn waaaaaa. Get the heck out of m;y face.

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steven June 18, 2014 at 10:34 pm

Here’s the difference.. The name was not used against the Choctaw. It was not the Choctaw’s scalps that were taken.. They were Munsee and Delaware scalps. Yes MY direct ancestors.. We’re not a family of 145, but a family of over 5000. I could care less about the N word or how it’s used.. it’s not my dog in the fight. And yes if they say it’s offensive , I would support them if they wanted to fight to have it changed.. No one asked you to support anything.. but you don’t have the right to say what is or isn’t offensive to those it affected. Nor do you have the right to belittle those that do not agree with you.

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brad June 19, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Yeah, the Choctaws never were scalped, they never were put in a bad spot. They have ran casino’s since the beginning of time. Never heard of the Trail of Tears? That’s the difference. Attempted Genocide, vs, someone used the name Redskins. Good call.

You are NOT A FAMILY OF 5000, you idiotic asinine liar. This is a personal family I commune with of 145. The Choctaw nation is much more than 5000, which is how you “used the word family” in your claim.

I don’t belittle you because you don’t agree, but because your presentation and arguments were fake, and opportunistic, and then you got more stupid as we went on… You are just intellectually dishonest. Intellectually dishonest people should not be allowed to breed.

I have EVERY RIGHT TO SAY something about a group claiming offense for opportunity. I have every right to speak out against Political Correctness when it’s misapplied which by definition is nearly always. I have EVERY RIGHT when you rewrite the history of the Washington Redskins and why they chose their name, to suit your own idiopathic need for attention. HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT, every time they play, people all across the world, are forced to remember, if only for a second, the travesties against the First indigenous folk?

If no one asked me to support anything, I need no one to allow me to becry something. So sthu.

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steven June 18, 2014 at 10:37 pm

“I bet, out of 1 million people, you would be hard pressed to find TEN bigots against First Indigenous peoples. I can find more than you can towards me and I’m white. ” this statement says it all.. You are not indigenous and you don’t even consider yourself as one.. your opinion is moot.. This statement says it all.. You have no idea what Indigenous have to go thru everyday in the US and Canada..

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brad June 19, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Yeah, the Choctaws never were scalped, they never were put in a bad spot. They have ran casino’s since the beginning of time. Never heard of the Trail of Tears? That’s the difference. Attempted Genocide, vs, someone used the name Redskins. Good call.

You are NOT A FAMILY OF 5000, you idiotic asinine liar. This is a personal family I commune with of 145. The Choctaw nation is much more than 5000, which is how you “used the word family” in your claim.

I don’t belittle you because you don’t agree, but because your presentation and arguments were fake, and opportunistic, and then you got more stupid as we went on… You are just intellectually dishonest. Intellectually dishonest people should not be allowed to breed.

I have EVERY RIGHT TO SAY something about a group claiming offense for opportunity. I have every right to speak out against Political Correctness when it’s misapplied which by definition is nearly always. I have EVERY RIGHT when you rewrite the history of the Washington Redskins and why they chose their name, to suit your own idiopathic need for attention. HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT, every time they play, people all across the world, are forced to remember, if only for a second, the travesties against the First indigenous folk?

If no one asked me to support anything, I need no one to allow me to decry something. So sthu.
—————
Because I have bigots against me daily, I can’t speak of bigotry. That’s the argument you want to go with? MY GOD MAN I didn’t realize the friggin SUN AND STARS revolved around you and YOURS was the only offense that mattered. Narcissist much? Self righteous bastage. How revealing…

Your position is bigotry is wrong, but it’s ok for you to be a bigot. Bigotry against me is irrelevant because I’m not first indigenous folk. Moron. You shame your people. Serious, if you were on MY TEAM in this fight, I’d silence your dumbass.

I have a family of 145 INDIGENOUS FOLK on the CHOCTAW NATION’S ROLL, and you want to claim I’m ignorant… again, you damned moron.

You just cry for special attention here… like an appeal to authority. IF or if not I’m indigenous has nothing to do with my knowledge of what they suffer. Having such a large segment of my family as indigenous folk, intrinsically I’m not “unfamiliar”. However, you’ll lie cheat and steal to cry like a @#%@#% for special attention. Dishonest ass.

25 years of being wrong, doesn’t make you right.

anything else, bigot?

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steven June 18, 2014 at 10:41 pm

My last bit of education.. We have been fighting this for the past 25 years.. We just won our right to religious freedom in 1978. What makes you think we had rights to fight it when it began?

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John June 19, 2014 at 6:48 am

I don’t see why folks are getting their panties in a bunch over a word. Good grief WGAF it’s a word!!! People these days are so busy being offended at every little thing they aren’t paying attention to the world stage and all the crazy BS that’s going on.

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Brad June 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Interesting, a post I had here disappeared.

Then I get a post from you, that isn’t here…

Here is the new reply:
You have family? Are you on the rolls? and Yes.. a family of 5000.. Obviously you know nothing about tribal membership and what it means..
——–
Obviously you use words like obviously and have no clue what they mean….

I understand tribal membership. I addressed his above, but obviously <<< to use your word<<<< you either don't read or can't not understand "big words". IF you want to count your "tribal role" as a family of 5K people, then Choctaw dwarfs you.

I gave you the use of family, as in immediate, genetically linked family, with a few odds and ends. I gave you the number of that family who were choctaw, nearly all of them on the roll…. All of them could have been on it though.

You are telling me, the Choctaw, who walked the trail of tears, were never mistreated so they can't understand wher eyou are coming from. I'm telling you that you are eat up with the dumbass, and are just butt hurt and want to cry for special attention….

You made a pedantic move I denied redefining family in the middle of the conversation.

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Mark June 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm

“…and we find the name offensive.”

Is that a royal “we”? If so, it should be capitalized.

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Bryan June 20, 2014 at 8:34 am

Haha..that is quite possibly the most intelligent response I have read anywhere.

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Chase Stuart February 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm

I can’t believe Richie hasn’t chimed in yet noting that he finds it interesting that the newspaper called founding a football team “entering an eleven” back in the 1930s.

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Richie March 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Should I take that as an insult?

Old writing styles are fun to read. But I still can’t figure out what this sentence means: “The head and since the close of the 1932 season Pres Marshall and Coach Dietz have signed up a number of Indian players.”

I also enjoy that they refer to him as “Pres”?

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Chase Stuart March 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm

No, just a hope that someone else was thinking the way I did.

I still can’t figure out that sentence, either. And yes, Pres was kind of odd. The comma placement seemed pretty random, too.

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JWL March 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm

I do not see a comma there.

As for old language, I like how short TD runs were often referred to as “plunges” in old game stories and line scores.

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Rob2 October 18, 2013 at 11:32 pm

George Marshall was the head of the team, and since the close of the ’32 season, also the president.

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db9n May 1, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I believe the head is referring to the logo. In modern English it would be something like:

This new name is rather appropriate in more than one sense because of the existing logo and the signing of a number of Indian players by Pres Marshall and Coach Dietz since the close of the 1932 season.

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bengt May 23, 2014 at 4:57 am

I read the first part as “The head – and, since the close of the 1932 season, Pres – Marshall” and the main part as “Pres Marshall and Coach Dietz have signed up a number of Indian players.”

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mike carlson June 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I had always heard that the Boston Braves baseball team attributed the nickname to the disguises
worn at the Boston Tea Party. Havent even bothered to check it, but Tammany Hall was named for
an Indian named Tamenend and it seems such a NY thing the Tea Party makes sense…Sarah Palin was
not around then BTW

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Bahe Rock October 6, 2013 at 9:18 pm

I think the reason there were alot of teams with the name reference to indians back in the day was because Boston was the place where a very real radical transformation took place back in the 1880′s in regards to american indian rights. At that time (1880′s), supporters of a Ponca indian named Standing Bear did raise awareness of the mistreatment of indians by the war dept. and interior dept. of the u.s. govt. Standing Bear had to prove he was a human being in order to be allowed to go back to his original homeland on the niobrara river in Nebraska. He and his supporters fought like hell to prove he was a human being as opposed to what the govt. said he was, nothing more than a beast of the field. Non indians took courage and bestowed SB and indians in general with compassionate support to stand against the u.s. gov and the so-called “indian ring” (a group of wealthy politicans and businesses) that were intent on taking as much indian land as possible through making up new laws after the fact of taking indian lands. Teams were named for indians back in the day due to the fact they stood against great odds to fight for their rights in non indian courts with little knowledge of the non indian legal system but with great heart and the truth.

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Rick May 1, 2014 at 9:31 am

Bahe, this was a very interesting post. Thanks for writing it. What are your thoughts on a team in 2014 being named “Indians” or “Redskins” or “Braves”?

It is my stance that each of these names was chosen out of respect and not malice and that much is being made about nothing. But admittedly I am not a member of any minority so I do not know what it feels like to have a team named “Caucasians” or some other word that references my heritage.

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Brian October 16, 2013 at 10:51 am

“Teams were named for indians back in the day due to the fact they stood against great odds to fight for their rights in non indian courts with little knowledge of the non indian legal system but with great heart and the truth.”

The suggestion that early 20th century white America had this much social and cultural empathy for its indigenous peoples is overwhelmingly refuted by the historical record.

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Bo Darville November 27, 2013 at 12:02 am

It was my understanding that the Redskin name was a hybrid of Red Sox and Braves.

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mikw December 19, 2013 at 11:26 am

Heard named redskins because of the Boston tea party sons of liberty dressed as mohawks that night the tea went into the sea

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Tom Benjey December 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

I have an idea as to what the awkward sentence: “The head and since the close of the 1932 season Pres Marshall and Coach Dietz have signed up a number of Indian players.” means. In 1932, George Preston Marshall was partnered with three other investors but he was the one who headed the team. After the season was over, they parted ways leaving Marshall as sole owner. Naming himself President of the club was then a trivial task.

BTW, I just found an October 1933 Boston Herald article that states that Marshall had purchased new uniforms for the team.

Tom Benjey, author of “Keep A-goin’: the life of Lone Star Dietz”

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James January 31, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Regardless of the origin as a team name, the origin as a noun is the reddish color of blood-stained skin stripped from killed Indians and used for various decorations, purses, bags, etc.

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B June 5, 2014 at 7:50 am

Incorrect, blood from skin turns black. This internet “spin” has gained a lot of traction. My grand mother on my fathers side was one fifth Native American, she and my grand father were fans of the Boston team. They may no longer be with us, but we are still fans of the Redskins! Yes there was a lot of atrocities against the natives of this land. A lot of benign words were used with hate, if we eliminated the use of everyone., there would be no history left. Maybe that is what they want? Personally I think it’s all about the billions of dollars to be made if they can get the trademark removed. Bootleggers make a fortune now the flood gates would open without litigation.

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steven June 18, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Your grandmother didn’t have enough BQ to be considered a tribal member so that makes your opinion moot.

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peaceman June 21, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Probably has more than you and the divisions are what they want in our culture. So STFU.

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Richard June 28, 2014 at 11:57 pm

We know so little of history and what we think we know, we use to rationalize our own point of view or blame others. BTW…”bootleggers” in China and Taiwan have been making billions selling counterfeit jerseys and hats for years. In addition, while the European colonization of the Americas likely resulted in the destruction of 9/10ths of the original, indigenous peoples through war and disease, the indigenous people weren’t without their destructive side (ref. tribes warring against other tribes, tribes siding with the British or French or Spanish AND fighting against other tribes, introduction of tobacco products, modern prolifferation of gambling, etc.). I’m not excusing anyone’s actions. I’m saying that we’re all responsible for the human condition.

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B July 3, 2014 at 8:15 am

I am aware of the current billion dollar “bootlegger” regime. Currently those items are open to litigation and confiscation; if the trademark revocation is upheld, those aspects would go away for bootleggers, but not the Redskin merchandise that will still be produced. HTTR, RS4L!

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KEN February 1, 2014 at 3:04 am

The name maybe offensive to some but EVERYTHING these days offend someone or other.

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Richard June 28, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Not just, “these days”, but throughout history…ever since there’ve been TWO humans, someone has said something to offend someone else; but why do we carelessly go on hurting others? Why not select one of the following options and live in a better tomorrow? Options: Washington Congress, Washington Senators, Washington Executives, Washington Justice, Washington Law, Washington Monuments, or Washington Presidents.

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Smokey April 30, 2014 at 9:34 pm

I think it’s about time everyone changed their ideas of who they are talking about when the say “Redskins”. Stop and think about how the Bulling is seen as something that doesn’t belong in schools or on the internet. Yet it is okay to bully a group of people who are honorable and proud of their culture, it seems to come back to using us as your logos and cartoons because you think we are funny or funny looking. If being funny looking is your idea of an American to use as a cartoon you have plenty of funny looking people who are not from here to use as cartoons. Look in the mirror.

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Dennis Nighthawk Binns May 1, 2014 at 3:14 am

“Some baseball player wearing a Boston Braves uniform in 1935.” Everyone knows that this is Babe Ruth. But, be that as it may, if a group of individuals is offended by the term, and finds it to be a racial epithet, it must be discarded and replaced. The term can be determined to be comparative to the “N word” used against the African-American community. It would not be any different than calling the team the Washington Blackskins, Yellowskins or Whiteskins. So, why does it seem appropriate to some individuals to be okay with the “Redskins?”

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JT May 1, 2014 at 8:03 am

Take the Native American logo off of the helmet. If it’s there to honor them as claimed then no longer honor them. Put another logo on the helmet that depicts D.C. but keep the name. Thus Redskins only refers to the jersey color and nothing related to Native Americans. By the way, I thought the name Redskins originated from Native American themselves long before football was invented.

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RAILROADKAT May 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Hooray!!!! Now this is something I could really get behind! I long for the day when D.C. uses a picture on their helmets depicting a “REDSKIN” POTATO instead of the current logo!!! Or would that be considered racist, too? Just waiting for the time when some asinine “do-gooder” or “Political Correctness” enthusiast takes up the cause to have those same redskin potatoes renamed, as well. Impossible??? I think not…not in these days of people with too much time on their hands and itching to put their opinions about inconsequential crap on “social networking” sites hoping for them to go “viral.” This entire NON-controversy is outlandish! And by the way on a related topic, I agree with the guy (who happens to be a black man…HIS description, not mine) that the comments allegedly attributed to the owner of the LA Clippers might have been RACIAL…but not by any stretch of the imagination were they RACIST. (Same thing goes for the Redskin fiasco). Pretty stiff penalties for a PRIVATE conversation. I wonder how many of the other NBA owners (or for that matter, the overpaid players) would be available for a polygraph test that would prove or disprove what they might have said in times past in what they hoped were PRIVATE conversations concerning racial issues…and that would include comments about white people by black owners and players. Watch out people. There is NO freedom of speech in this country any longer! That is the bigger issue…not the names of sports franchises or what is said in possibly illegally recorded PRIVATE conversations. Watch your backs folks! YOU may be next!

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steven June 18, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Funny how people like you think you have the right to tell us what’s offensive to US?! Why not honor yourself instead of us.. Call them the Washington Idiots..

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Phil May 1, 2014 at 10:26 am

Keep everything the same ..Logo,Colors etc. just change the name to an Indian tribe from the area,that way they are honored.

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Steven May 1, 2014 at 10:35 am

For all the high schools on Native American reservations that have the mascot “Redskins”, do we ask them to change the name as well?

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steven June 18, 2014 at 10:02 pm

name one..

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DRAY May 1, 2014 at 11:36 am

As a Washington Redskins fan for the last 45 years, I only think of an NFL team when I hear Redskins.

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Peter May 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Jim Thorpe’s college teams at Carlisle were also known as the Redskins.

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Peter May 1, 2014 at 2:14 pm

No one thinks to call people Negroes or colored people these days, despite the existence of the United Negro College Fund and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Those names have long histories and are tied, historically, to the words used in the organizations’ names. The continued use of those now long-passe words in the honorific names of the organizations is not inappropriate or racist, even though the use of those words might be cringe-worthy or reflect racist attitudes of the speaker in most other situations.

No one thinks to call people Redskins these days either, despite the continued existence of the Washington Redskins football team. The continued use of the honorific and historic name is not racist, even if calling people redskins in other situations might be cringe-worthy or reflect racist attitudes of the speaker in most other situations.

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William Heyman May 9, 2014 at 6:47 pm

The New England Patriotic Brave Redskins

This seems to be the time when sports teams are criticized for their historical names. The Atlanta Braves baseball team is criticized for their American Indian name and symbols. But this time is not the time that gave the team its name, and the criticism is misplaced when the history of the team is explored. The Braves did not begin in Georgia but moved to Atlanta from Milwaukee. They didn’t begin in Wisconsin either having moved to “the city that made beer famous” from their original home, Braves Field in Boston. I remember, as a kid, singing the last line of our National Anthem as “…the home of the Braves,” and believing that the team represented the spirit of the patriots who, dressed in paint and feathers, dumped the British tea in Boston Harbor. I don’t remember any actual Boston Indians that might have given the team its name. The name Boston Penobscots doesn’t seem to have a real ring to it. Maybe New England humor is so dry as to escape most people and still smarting from the loss of their beloved Braves, the Bostonians are not letting anyone in on the secret.

That, of course, brings us to the Boston Redskins. The who? Yup, you guessed it. They also moved from Boston, but to Washington, D.C. And where did they play? Right again – Braves Field. Since they were born long after the Braves, but played at Braves Field, they took on a related name. I don’t remember the name as being related to any American Indians, but to the same New England patriots. (Hmm, there might be yet another team name there.) You might say that like the original team of players they only put on their brave’s warpaint and red skins to go to the Sunday afternoon tea party. But you probably wouldn’t say that.

Please don’t tell them up in Beantown that we’re in on the joke.

©1997, William Heyman

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Rachel May 9, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Ya know, in the mid 60′s there was a tune named ” Signs “. The 5 Man Electrical Band did it…..went something like …..sign , sign, everywhere a sign, blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind, do this, don’t do that, ya gotta read the signs. It’s so sad that so many years have passed and we’re still reading signs. R we really ever gonna be at peace with each other ?? R we gonna die still picking at someone or some organization cause we don’t see their sign ???

May God bless us all :-)

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Fred May 28, 2014 at 7:02 am

I grew up outside Boston. I recall while going to school being told by teachers that the naming of the then “Boston Braves” and the “Redskins” was in honor of the Boston Tea Party participants of Dec 16, 1773, who disguised themselves as Indians when they tossed 340 chest of tea into the Boston harbor. This was one of the incidents that lead to the Revolutionary War and should not be forgotten. There is an important historical event behind this name and it should not be changed. I believe current Tea Party political activities have something to do with the anti “Redskins” movement.

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Mike June 12, 2014 at 7:32 pm

When are the crackpots going to demand that Oklahoma change its name? After all, it means “red people.” With all of the garbage going on in the world maybe these busy bodies should put their energies towards one of the many wildly more important issues we face today.

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Carol Liles June 19, 2014 at 7:34 am

there are over 24 People and businesses named Redskin or Redskins. It’s their NAME. Washington Redskins is the NAME.
they have been around for over 60 years.
Over the years, the team is known for great things. They were the first NFL team to have a marching band, form a radio station, have all games televised, form an alumni association, have football’s longest string of sellout games.
What about Redskin nuts, redskin potatoes etc
here is just a small list of the NAME Redskin in use;
Alicia Redskin North Middletown, NJ, Steve Redskins Galloway, OH, Catawissa Redskins Catawissa, PA.
Jacqueline Redskin Chicago, IL, Lanes Redskin Chowchilla, CA, Redskin InveStment Group LLC Beavercreek, OH,
Little Redskin Daycare Center – Donna, TX , Ringling Redskins -Sarasota, FL , Redskin Transport LLC-Johnstown, OH,
Redskin Lanes & Pizza Pub-Utica, OH, Redskin Express- Donna, TX, Redskins Auto Sales-Detroit, MI,
Redskin Theatre- Anadarko, OK, Redskin Fire Protection- Santa Ana, CA, Redskin Auto Center LLC-Pocahontas, AR

This new name is rather appropriate in more than one sense. The head and since the close of the 1932 season Pres Marshall and Coach Dietz have signed up a number of Indian players.1 Not only that, but the Boston National League ball park has long been called the Wigwam.
Regardless of the specific reason for the selection of the name, the move was likely uncontroversial. In 1921, the Cleveland football team was coached by Jim Thorpe and known as the Indians before folding. The next Cleveland expansion team two years later also called themselves the Indians but then merged with and into the Canton Bulldogs after one year. The Akron Pros renamed their team the Indians in 1926, which was also that franchise’s final season. In 1931, another Cleveland Indians team was born, but it lasted just one year, a common occurrence in Depression-era America. Of
course, all four Ohio teams were surely trying to piggyback off of the success of Cleveland’s baseball team.
And Jim Thorpe coached and starred in a team composed entirely of Native Americans called the Oorang (Ohio) Indians in 1922 and 1923. So it seems unlikely that anyone batted an eye at the name “Redskins” being chosen by Marshall.2

It’s clear that Washington Redskins is simply the NAME of a football team. nothing more, nothing less.

Now let’s move on to more important things such as;keeping our family safe from crime, disease etc.

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yoopdogs June 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm

The term Redskin was perfectly acceptable in a different era.the bottom line is that now it is not acceptable. The same team with a different name is still the same team. Boo hoo to you defenders of the term. Get over it and shut upand face the fact that your vehement defense of the term is the only position that’s making a huge deal out of this. Move

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dukeseminole June 25, 2014 at 12:06 am

The words red skin was originated sometime in the 1700s. It was a translation from French into English. It was used by Europeans and Native Americans to describe who was being talked about. Europeans were white skins and Native Americans were red skins. It is a myth that they word came from scalping anyone. That it was used this way later on has nothing to do with the origin of the term. I have no idea if the Braves name in Boston was meant to honor people dressing up as indians for the Boston Tea Party or not. I’ll let others discuss that.

On a separate note my family and I have had plenty of Native American friends and most of them called themselves “Red Men” and us “White Men/Folks”. Mostly it joking around, but I asked if the Redskin name was offensive and not one person said yes. Will any of this change anyone’s mind, no, but there it is all the same.

BTW, Seminole is the street I grew up on and I’m a Florida State fan, so don’t jump all over me for that.

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Richard June 28, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Wow! The angst for your fellow human beings!! We take the 10% (our external features) and can only see the “differences.” We are all humans; it’s too bad that we don’t treat eachother that way. All this hate directed at eachother for something entertainment related; evidence that our species is unlikely to survive in the long run. It is my opinion that the name be changed as any name that references skin color is, by definition, racist. Why not change the name to the Washington Congress, or Washington Monuments, or Washington Senators, or Washington Executives, or Washington Justice, or Washington Law, or Washington Presidents? Since indigenous people never played American football until after the 19th century, why not just remove the hurtful name; or is this all about marketing and allowing billionaires to make more billions by having games fought/played between “Cowboys and Indians (Redskins)”? Don’t forget that “India” was named by the ancient Greeks and Romans for the Indus River Valley and that the Indian’s name for their country is “Bharatta.” We can thank a Genoese sailor (Christoffa Corombo (which is his name in his native Genoese version of the Ligurin language) or the anglicisation of Christopher Columbus) in the service of Spain for calling the original, indigenous North Americans (a name derived from another European, Amerigo Vespucci), “Indians.” This was a sailor, not an anthropologist, nor any other type of scientist. Try to also remember that the word, “tribe”, is a Latin word that the Romans used to refer to groups of people that were not Roman citizens. Has anyone ever read the, “Out of Africa Theory”, or do we all think that “EVERY, SINGLE group” of humans arose independently? Knowing that the greatest, genetic, diversity possible between any two human beings is about 100,000 in 3,000,000,000 (or 3/1000 of 1 PERCENT…that’s not three percent but three thousandths of one percent), do we really think that we’re all so different? Haven’t we figured out that once a group is labelled, that they are no longer “we” but “they” and “them”, primed for countless types mistreatment (ref. murder, genocide, and war)? What will it take for us to wake up and realize that we’re all brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers…all human beings? Imagine if we weren’t so self-absorbed, weren’t so quick to disregard, or that our first thought wasn’t to disparage another. What if our first thought was to compliment others? What if our first instinct was to be kind, helpful, considerate, or thoughtful towards others? I can hear the shouts of, “pie in the sky” and “utopia”, but I submit to you that you’ve tried it on such a limited basis, if at all, that it may as well be three thousandths of one percent of the time. Just imagine hundreds or thousands working for each individual as opposed to everyone for themselves. We’re all human beings. All human beings.

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T July 15, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I have a very close friend who has earnd 2 super bowl rings.One with the REDSKINS !
Him nor his teammates that I was fortunate to meet never ever thought if their team name as derogatory icon.In fact,He considered himself as a warrior and was proud of the name and feels this uproar as silly

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Dave H. July 31, 2014 at 3:40 pm

AS many here, I have American Indian in my ancestory. Cherokee and Seminole to be exact. I always thought it to be an honor for teams to be named Indians, Braves, Seminoles, Warriors or yes even Redskins. It’s a huge part of what made this country what it is. It’s many of our ancestors that keeps it current in everyones mind. Yes, there was horibble things that happened, none of which I agree with. But there were horrible things done during the civil war, none of which I agree with either. Names such as cracker, white man, honky or any other name really bothers me. It’s just a name that truely defines nothing as to who I am or what I am. Color does not define a person, what you stand for does. So why worry about the ignorant people that tries to use names to harm even if that was the intent, which in all honesty, I do not think that to be the case.

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Rambo August 21, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Did any one else notice the picture of Babe Ruth from 1935? UMmm, Babe stopped playing for Boston in 1919. Not sure I can trust anything in this article. Nice try.

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Chase Stuart August 21, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Are you sure about that?

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BL August 21, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Marauders, Tea-Wreckers, Invaders, Tea Trashers, Shipcrashers, etc. would indicate original intent without modern misgivings about name.

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