Staff Ed: Sports teams called to make change when it comes to team name


Creative commons by Charlie Lyons-Pardue

This is an image of former NFL team logo Washington Redskins. The team has now changed their logo and their name to the Washington Football Team.

With people across the world being more aware of inequality and what they can do to make an impact, professional sports teams have started changing their team names and/or team traditions. Many teams have names that could be offensive to specific cultures or ethnicities, therefore it is time to take action on this issue. 

Former team Washington Redskins ended up changing their name to The Washington Football Team, along with the Cleveland Indians in the process of changing their name. Many teams like the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks, and Kansas City Chiefs are keeping their team names as of now, but putting rules into place for their fans and community. Many people are not in favor of keeping names that have to do with Native Americans. 

Everyone is trying to figure this out and what teams should be doing about their names and mascots, but a lot is uncertain. The best way to figure it out is to understand what indigenous peoples think, and get their opinion because many of them have different views on the names and what the team should do to fix it. For example, if they compare the Indians and Redskins to the Braves and Chiefs they may have very different opinions on what to do based on the mascot and background of those names. 

Sports teams should not be the ones who are saying if it is right or wrong, because most likely, they are not the ones with their tribal rituals being used, instead, team owners need to see what the Natives themselves think instead of just assuming. Depending on the Native group, they will have different answers therefore different teams may be able to keep names, unlike some other teams. 

Many teams are now facing pressure from Native American activists and other worldwide equality movements. Over a dozen teams in the last 50 years changed their team mascot and name due to the pressure. The activists argue that there has never been a place for names like that in sports and there never will be.

With many protests this past summer and how much it has changed general society, many teams may be feeling that pressure again whether it is directed at them or not. People have been changing their views on topics when it comes to different races and cultures and have been put in their place if they are taking advantage of another culture or race, therefore it will be interesting to see how things impact team names over the next few years.

Native American tribes only want to be respected and not have their rituals taken out of context by the team or the fans. Many Natives are willing to be somewhat flexible with their concerns as long as they feel mutual respect from the team and that the actions of the fans are representing the Native Americans in a positive way. 

Teams can change their names completely if that is what makes the Native Americans comfortable, but others may only need to put some rules in place for the team and fans. Once again this should not be for the team to decide because it is something that the Natives want and need to feel comfortable. 

This has been a topic for a while now as people are standing up for their culture and what is right. Many people think it will continue until the people directly impacted get what they want. Also, some cultures may be okay with team names and that is up to them.

With everything going on in the world today with social justice, this topic is far from being over. People want what is right and want to be heard. Many professional teams will do what the majority want so they do not come across as racist or discriminating against anyone, otherwise, they would have to deal with a lot more than just changing a name. 

Many team organizations are struggling with giving up team names they have had for many decades, which is understandable because it is a part of their team history and has a big part in the organization. Although it is hard to let go, it is time because we need change and many people will be upset if nothing happens. 

Team organizations need to step up and take ownership of their team name and understand it is time to move on because of the world we live in today. This will help and show that they support change and want the best for the majority as well.