Argumentive Essay

Submitted By dmort005
Words: 1189
Pages: 5

A city’s sports team represents more than just the sport in which it competes. It not only represents the city it is named after but also the people and the history behind it. Every team has a story behind their name and that story makes them who they are. It is a symbol of a people and culture and is cherished by fans all over. For some Washington Redskins fans however, this symbol is not one of pride but one of an oppressed and haunting past. The Washington Redskins were named by former co-owner George Preston Marshall after former head coach William Henry “Lone Star” Dietz who was part Sioux though his heritage was questioned after much uproar in later years over the change of the team name to such a controversial term.
The controversy begins over the meaning of the word “Redskin” and depending on which meaning you think is right, the name can or cannot be considered derogatory. Some scholars define the term redskin as a word early settlers used to describe the color of a Native American’s skin which, in this case, would make the term very demeaning such as other words used to describe minorities in a negative way. Another definition of the word is a term used to describe the color of the paint Native American Warriors wore on their faces during battle. In this case the word represents a form of power and strength which makes it a good name for a team.
There are a lot of opinions for many different groups of people on what should be done about the name of the Washington team. Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, was raised a redskins fans and sees no problem with the teams name. He supports the term and every positive meaning of it. When proposals were made to change the name of the team, Snyder opposed every one of them saying that the name is a “history and tradition that represents proud fans and alumni worldwide.” A lot of people agree with the owner in that the term is so much more than just a name and represents a people and a nation that is strong and courageous. For Snyder it also represents memories of growing up watching the team play with his father and to change the name would almost be like erasing those great times and memories he shared with his family. Though Dan feels so strongly about keeping the name and the tradition alive, it does not mean that he overlooks the feelings of the Native American people and all others in which the name offends but he hopes that people will understand and respect the tradition that the organization has built and know that they in no way mean to disrespect a culture.
When it comes to the opinions of Native Americans, a lot of different tribes are against the use of the term as a form of entertainment. Native American groups feel as though the Redskins organization is overlooking the years of oppression and suffering many different tribes of culture had to suffer through. Ray Halbritter, the representative of the Oneida tribe, states that “since the dictionary defines the term as a racial epithet, it should in no way be used to sell a sports team to America and the rest of the world.” Halbritter feels that Dan Snyder should have to come before the Oneida tribe during a meeting in their homelands and explain why the franchise feels they should be able to use the name.
When it comes to people who are also very tightly knit to the organization and its name such as players and coaches, opinions differ among the group. Certain players, such as Pro Bowl defensive back D’Angelo Hall, feel that a name change is inevitable and it is just a matter of time before franchise decides to go ahead with the change. Though Hall thinks that the change is far off, he thinks that it is a good idea for the team to consider a new name in respect to the people in which the term offends. Hall is not the first player to disagree with the name, former players such as Darrell Green and Art Monk have voiced their opinions in opposition of the name and felt that the franchise should…