Updated: August 23, 2015




Gary Norris Gray-BASN Staff Reporter


UPDATE:-As the 2015 season begins the Washington Football Club will be playing another year with its disgraceful nickname. Team owner Dan Snyder and team president Bruce Allen insist that it is a name of honor and refuse to change it. While many Native American tribes are educating the National Football League and football fans where this name originated and how it effects Native American youth today.

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It is not the question of if this name will leave Washington D.C. it is just when?

Allen and Snyder want to move the team back to Washington D.C. President Obama should make a stand just as President John Kennedy in 1961 against the Washington Football Club. Make that stand against racism in the National Football League.


October 20, 2014

OAKLAND, CA.- If America cannot do the simple things like change the nickname (REDSKINS) of a professional football team or change the logo (Chief Wahoo) of a professional baseball club, how are we (America) going to change the real difficult issues when it comes to race relations in the United States?


The Washington Football Club played the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field in the second pre season game of 2015. The (WFC) Washington Football Club may have won the game 22-17 but they are losing the war.


That is just the continuing saga of this football team’s problem, as it meets economic, political, and social opposition over its “REDSKIN” nickname. The team has lost numerous legal battles to retain the patent trade rights to sell Washington Football Gear. (Clothing). It is losing favor with the American populous as each year passes


It is also a football team in turmoil on the field. They have many questions that need to be answered, like who will be the starting quarterback, fourth year starter Robert Griffin III or can second year head coach Jay Gruden led the team to the playoffs or can they fix the weak offensive line? The WFC might end up in last place in the (NFC) National Football Conference – East Division AGAIN!!!




1.) The (WFC) Washington Football Club’s Merchandise sales have dropped 48 percent the past two years.

2.) Sponsors are beginning to rethink their position on the R-Word i.e. Budweiser Beer Company, Coca Cola Company, and Bank of America.

Two years later, The FedEx Shipping Company has not commented on the subject. The Fed Ex Board of directors and stockholders are getting nervous because this issue will not go away.

3.) The team has lost its U.S. Patent trademark rights on its name to block other businesses from creating or selling Washington Football Club material for profit.

4.) This year there will be another round of protest at stadiums the Washington Football Club appear  (AIM) The American Indian Movement will be coordinating these protest.

Please contact the local Tribe in your area for the time and dates.

5.) The (FCC) Federal Communication Commission had a conference last year stating the R-word was derogatory and each sports network and sports department had the right to ban it.  Some newspapers and radio stations have decided not to use the word in 2015.

Please contact your local sports station and insist that they cease the use of this name.


The five points would make anybody nervous and want to give up the fight but (WFC) Owner Dan Snyder, Team President Bruce Allen, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and The National Football League continue.


Money makes the world go around and the (WFC) must be asking, what happened the last two years because football fans are not buying Burgundy and Gold football gear?

CNN Money reports:-

 Powell suspects some of the drop in the sales of Redskins items is due to manufacturers and retailers pulling back on the production and stocking  them, although he doesn’t have any specific examples of that happening.

“If I’m a retailer and I’m nervous about this logo, I’m taking a more cautious approach,” he said.

The trademark protections remain in place while the team appeals the Patent Office ruling.

Redskins items used are among the most popular of any NFL team. Teams across the league are sharing in the hit to sales, since merchandise profits are shared league-wide.

That is going to put more pressure on the team from other owners to drop its fight to retain the name, according to Powell.

“This is all about making money. They’re not doing this for love,” said Powell. 

Money talks and nobody walks and the (WFC) also hurt sales across the country in other football stadiums. This will not last long if this downward trend continues. Owners will tell Dan Snyder to change the name because it is now a league economic issue. In the NFC East the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, and the New York Football Giants have already started to raise these concerns in 2015.


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Coca Cola and Bank of America did not respond to the request of USA Today on Sept 4, 2014 on the issue of the name. The Fed Ex shipping company has not said a word either but the pressure is on to distance themselves from the R-Word.  World corporations should think about the following.

Michael Friedman, a clinical psychologist from New York involved in the study and treatment of adults with psychological health and interpersonal issues for over 20 years, suggested waiting is harmful — if not to the corporate sponsors, to Native Americans.

“The use of a government-defined racial slur is harmful to Native American adults and children, which is verified by social science, and sponsors need to think about that,” Friedman said. “I think it is time for corporations to step up and do things that benefit not only their shareholders, but all of the stakeholders in our communities.”

Next question do they care?



On June 18, 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the Washington Redskins trademark license for a second time, because the name is “disparaging to Native Americans.” Bob Raskopf, the Redskins trademark attorney, released a statement saying they plan to appeal the ruling. Raskopf claims the Trademark and Patent office lacked substantial evidence to back their claim that the Redskins name was disparaging to Native Americans, as well as the tribes petitioning for the name change. He also claimed that while the appeal process is going on, the trademark will remain valid.  The team filed its appeal of the case on August 14, 2014; stating their belief “that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) ignored both federal case law and the weight of the evidence”. They also cite infringement of their First Amendment right to free expression.

This could be the final nail in the (WFC) coffin and the name might be finally on its way out.




First Nation Brothers and Sisters from Canada will join Native Americans.


Sept. 24 @ The New York Football Giants

Oct. 11 @ Atlanta

Oct. 18 @ New York Jets

Nov. 8 @ New England

Nov. 22 @ Carolina

Dec. 13 @ Chicago

Dec. 26 @ Philadelphia

Jan. 3 @ Dallas

Call, write, or email your local Native America Tribe for more protest information.


Charlene Teters, an artist and founding board member of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media, said during a demonstration outside Progressive Field on Opening Day 2010.

Teters states:- “Don’t insult my intelligence telling me this honors me . . . It is ‘Little Red Sambo.’”

“It’s almost 2011, and we still have a professional sports team named after a racial slur?”  After all, the term “Redskin” was a largely-derogatory term for Native Americans, used by white people who were disparaging the native peoples of this land.  Worse, the team with the racial slur as a name is the NFL team from our nation’s capital?  *slaps forehead* What are we thinking?  Was it not bad enough that the folks in D.C. broke almost every single federal treaty signed with Native People?

 I can already hear the reaction most defenders of this mascot would have:  But we’re honoring their brave warrior spirit!  They should feel proud that a Native American is the mascot for the Washington Redskins.


There is also the issue that Native Americans refer to each other by this name, it does not happen. The name became an American slang or moniker during the Indian Wars when cowboys had to have a record of their killings by carrying the heads of dead Native Americans. The art of scalping became known and then blamed on the Native Americans, this is psychological warfare. Head wounds bleed more than any other wound – Thus the R-Word.

Its 2014 and The Washington Football Club owner is still fighting to keep this racist name. Snyder uses the same term of honoring Native Americans with this name. It’s like calling this team politely the RED NIGGERS.

Ms. Teters later says:- In Major League Baseball, you have the Atlanta Braves (who, in a step in the right direction, tactfully changed their mascot from a racist depiction of a native person to a baseball-headed guy):

The Braves removed every reference to Native Americans on their uniforms and baseball caps without fanfare or conflict. The National Basketball Association’s Golden State Warriors have done likewise and nobody notice.


Now we need to work on that Tomahawk chop, which Atlanta fans use during Braves rally, has nothing to do with Native Americans.


Ms. Teters makes a very good point and the Washington Football Club might be feeling the political pressure now.

For example, Colorado State Senator Suzanne Williams recently introduced (though later withdrew under tremendous pressure) a bill that would have required all public and charter high schools in Colorado seek approval from the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs to make sure that the mascot was accountable and respectful.  Local pressure has been applied to school boards and state legislatures all over the country in hopes of encouraging high schools to change Indian mascots to something more respectful.  The NCAA even attempted to have all American Indian mascots eliminated from participating schools, but it decided (through political pressure) that it could not force schools to change their mascots and simply ruled that such mascots could not represent teams in the NCAA playoffs.

These are some of the colleges and universities that have changed their names

– Stanford University – Indians to Cardinal (1972)

– Dartmouth College– Indians to Big Green (1974)

– Siena – Indians to Saints (1988)

– Eastern Michigan – Hurons to Eagles (1991)

– St. John’s University (N.Y.) – Redman to Red Storm (1994) This is a classic example of things getting out of hand through misunderstandings. The admistration at St. John’s University were so scared that there would be protests at the school that they changed their nickname that had nothing to do with Native Americans. It was a club of men on campus that wore red jackets that were called Redmen.

– Marquette University– Warriors to Golden Eagles (1994)

– Miami (Ohio) – Redskins to Redhawks (1997)

– Seattle University – Chieftains to Redhawks (2000)

– Louisiana-Monroe – Indiana to Warhawks (2006)

– Arkansas State – Indians to Red Wolves (2008)

– North Dakota – Formerly dropped Fighting Sioux in 2012. No nickname currently.

North Dakota is trying to reinstate the mascot in 2015 even-though it would lose the chance to play in any NCAA Hockey Championship. The NCAA rules state the school cannot have a name or mascot that has not been approved by that tribe or the Native American Council or that is offensive.

– Illinois – Removed Chief Illiniwek as an official mascot in 2007. Athletic teams are still called Fighting Illini. This was one of the bitter, brutal fights in America. The Illini Tribe were upset that the Chief Illiniwek mascot preformed dances that the school claims were authentic tribal dances. They were not! The school could have had tribal members teach each new Chief Illiniwek how to perform these dances; instead, they ignored history and did it their own way creating conflict.

– Bradley and Alcorn State – Both schools stopped using Native American mascot but have retained their Braves nickname. The Bradley Braves like the University of Illinois refuse to have dialog with Native Americans. Bradley had their mascot dance around the basketball floor in Peoria, Illinois not respecting the Native American tradition

– William and Mary – Adjusted their Tribe logo by removing the feathers to comply with the NCAA. Athletics teams are still called Tribe. (2007)

Utah (Utes), Central Michigan (Chippewas), Florida State (Seminoles) and Mississippi College (Choctaws) all appealed successfully to the NCAA after being deemed “hostile and offensive.”

These schools have also worked with the tribes to get the uniforms, colors, and history correct.

The other colleges and universities changed their name and mascots because they were receiving federal funding from Washington D.C.


In the 1940s the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) created a campaign to eliminate negative stereotyping of Native American people in the media. Over time, the campaign began to focus on Indian names and mascots in sports. The NCAI maintains that teams with mascots such as the Braves and the Redskins perpetuate negative stereotypes of Native American people, and demean their native traditions and rituals. Proponents of Native American mascots, however, believe that Native American mascots pay respect to these people and promote a better understanding of their cultures. Despite this issue gaining prominence during the civil rights movement, it still continues today as many teams continue to possess mascots with controversial names and images.


FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says he thinks the “Redskins” name for Washington’s NFL team is offensive and should be changed, but thinks public pressure is the best vehicle for that exit.

Former FCC Chair Reed Hundt, who is leading an effort by former FCC officials and others to get Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the name of the team, had asked FCC commissioners to speak out. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has said she knew the name was offensive to a number of people and had concerns herself, but Wheeler had yet to weigh in–the other commissioners have declined comment.

“I don’t use the term personally and I think it is offensive and derogatory,” Wheeler told B&C/Multichannel News. “I am a Civil War buff,” he pointed out, “and there were a lot of terms that were appropriate at that time that aren’t appropriate any more.”

Hundt has said he thinks the term could be indecent by FCC standards or its use could disqualify Snyder’s under character qualifications for ownership.

Each station could be fined from $1,000 dollars up to $5,000 dollars each day, using the R-Word. The FCC could go even further by pulling the licenses of the stations who repeat the use of the R-Word. 


    george preston marshall resizedlonestar resized                                                                                             

Let’s go back to the beginning in 1932 George Preston Marshall owned the club named The Boston Braves. Marshall moved from Braves Field to Fenway Park and renamed the club the Redskins to suggest a brotherhood with the Boston Red Sox. But there is a darker side to this name. Marshall stated he named the team in honor of the Native American Coach William “Lone Star” Dietz who claimed to be part Sioux. This act created the racial tone to the football club’s name. It was later discovered that Dietz was not Native American.

Marshall’s football club became the flagship football team for the south even the song had a racial tone, “Fight for old Dixie” before the change because of political pressure in 1962 to “Fight for old D.C.” which sounds very much like the original lyrics.

Marshall did not employ African Americans on his team and got away with it until a young fiery President John F. Kennedy. The president told Marshall if he did not have a Black player in 1961 he would have to move out of D.C. Stadium because the park was owned by the United States Department of the Interior. There could not be segregation in any government building.

It could happen all over again because owner Dan Snyder and President Bruce Allen want to move the team back into D.C. Stadium while his new football park is being constructed.

 President Obama must take the stand that President Kennedy did over 60 years ago. The President should block this move because of the team’s racist nickname. A government building cannot permit racist names on the property.

This was another act of a racial defiance by Marshall and the (WFC). The Washington Football Team was the last professional football team to integrate drafting fullback Ernie Davis who happened to be the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. Marshall stated that he did not want a visible African American and traded the number one pick in the draft. Davis went to Cleveland for running back Bobby Mitchell and wide receiver Leroy Jackson.

It is ironic that George Preston Marshall passed away in August 9, 1969.

(On his death bed he pleaded with his relatives to NEVER change the name of the Washington Football Club. It is 2015 and they have complied with his wishes).

In that same year Native Americans occupied the Island of Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay Area. This was to attain the public attention of Americans who were unaware of the living conditions of tribe members throughout the United States. This was the first time many Americans knew about the living conditions of our Native American brothers and sisters.


a) Native Americans have the highest unemployment rates

b) Native Americans have the lowest paying jobs

c) Native Americans have the highest school dropout rate

d) Native American girls have the highest pregnancy rate

e) Native Americans have the highest suicide rate

f) Native American have the highest drug and alcohol rate

g) Native Americans women have the highest murder rate

h) Native Americans are second in homeless citizens in this country

i) Native American men have a difficult time reaching the age of 60

THESE ARE FACTS-NOBODY WANTS TO DISCUSS especially the Washington Football Club or The Cleveland Indians Baseball Club.

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Native American activist Amanda Blackhorse also has a list of why this name should change


1. The land grabbing of Indigenous lands

2. The raping, violence, and hatred directed at Indigenous women and children

3. The poisoning of our water

4. The desecration of our ancestor’s bones and graves

5. Each “redskin” (hair, scalp, nose, ears, genitals, and skin) taken off of an Indigenous person

6. Each child taken from the arms of their parents and grandparents for the sake of “killing the Indian and saving the man”

7. Each treaty that was not honored

8. Every acre of land stolen from Indigenous people

9. Every law passed since the Doctrine of Discovery for the sake of Manifest Destiny

10. Every religion stuffed down the throats of Indigenous men and women for the sake of colonization

11. Each smallpox blanket

12. Every head of hair chopped off in boarding schools and residential schools

13. The forced mining, fracking and desecration of Indigenous lands yesterday and today

14. The sterilization of Indigenous women by Indian Health Service

15. Each tribe which no longer exists due to the attempted extermination of Indigenous people

16. Each tribal person who was exiled and relocated to urban communities

17. Each person who has been subjected to alcoholism in the name of poor business or poor treaty deals

18. Each Native person who has been experimented on and exploited for their blood, bodies, and DNA.


(AIM) The American Indian Movement did not get support 50 years ago because they did not have the social, political, and economic power to change their circumstances. A slow change is emerging with the multi cultured coalition. The“CHANGE THE NAME-CHANGE THE MASCOT”, protest has changed the political landscape and Americans who are now paying attention to the hard life Native Americans have to endure.

The Occupation of Alcatraz had a direct effect on federal Indian policy and, with its visible results, established a precedent for Indian activism.

Robert Robertson, director of the National Council on Indian Opportunity (NCIO), was sent to negotiate with the protesters. His offer to build a park on the island for Indian use was rejected, as the IAT were determined to possess the entire island, and hoped to build a cultural center there. While the Nixon administration did not accede to the demands of the protesters, it was aware of the delicate nature of the situation, and so could not forcibly remove them. Spurred in part by Spiro Agnew’s support for Native American rights, federal policy began to progress away from termination and toward Indian autonomy.

In Nixon’s July 8, 1970, Indian message, he decried termination, proclaiming, “self-determination among Indian people can and must be encouraged without the threat of eventual termination.” While this was a step toward substantial reform, the administration was hindered by its bureaucratic mentality, unable to change its methodical approach of dealing with Indian rights. Nixon’s attitude toward Indian affairs soured with the November 2, 1972, occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Nixon reputedly felt betrayed, and claimed that “he was through doing things to help Indians.”

President Nixon disabled the progressive movement by AIM withdrawing his support in 1974.

The Native American political movement once again gained traction when the Washington Football Club winning the Super Bowl in 1982, under the direction of African American quarterback Doug Williams from Grambling State University, a (HBCU) Historically Black College and Universities, the first to do so.

The R-Word will not be with us too much longer because the political, social, and economic pressure will, “MAKE IT SO”, as Captain Picard of the Starship Enterprise states.

Here is some advice CHANGE THE NAME back to the original, Boston-Washington Braves, or a new name like the Washington Warriors. They could even be innovative by naming the team after a local Native American Tribe in the D.C. Area like the Piscataways or the Susquehannocks.

But then again that is asking too much.

Special thanks to The Hill.Com Power, Oppression, & Privilege in Sports

For the additional information in this article

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network on Disabled Community Activist. Email at

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod


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