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I'm Not Oversensitive: The Washington Redskins Are a Disgrace

Photograph by Twenty20

I think people are ultra-sensitive about certain issues in the world. For this reason, I don’t always want to complain about certain things because I don’t want to seem hypocritical. So I have to really consider something before I realize that it is a problem. One of those things didn’t take me long to consider at all. I’ve been thinking about it for years, but now, as a parent, I thought about it in a totally different way.

The Washington Redskins are a disgrace.

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I’m not talking about their play on the football field. No, I'm talking about what you all know that I’m talking about.

I’m talking about their name.

This argument has gone back and forth, and I’ve never thought that the other side had any kind of cohesive clarification for why this team should be called what it’s called. It’s racist, disgusting and needs to be changed. Any reasonable person knows that.

And here’s what made me think about it in different terms: I was watching football with my 5-year-old son. He gets bored by football pretty fast, but he loves watching with me because he knows how much I love watching it. His favorite thing to do is ask what the names are of the teams. And then he decides which team to root for based on the name and the color.

A few Sundays ago, I was watching various games on TV and my son asked who the red team was. I answered, “The Cardinals,” while explaining what a cardinal was—a fairly easy explanation.

If we can’t think of how to explain a simple team name to our own children, how the hell can the owner of the team justify keeping that name?

My son then asked who the white team was. I answered, “The Chargers,” while explaining what a charger was. Again, an easy explanation.

This went on for a while, until… you guessed it…

“What’s that red team?”

“Um… the Redskins”

“What’s a Redskin?”

“Um… uh… well, it’s a… terribly racist term for Native Americans that we absolutely should not use.”

How’d I do? Was that a good explanation? Because I literally could not think of what to say.

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And that’s it. If we can’t think of how to explain a simple team name to our own children, how the hell can the owner of the team justify keeping that name?

And any of you out there that think the world is too sensitive and reactionary, let me ask you if it would offend you if a team spoke more towards your heritage? What if there were teams named the New York Christ Killers or the Atlanta Watermelon Eaters?

See? Completely disgusting and offensive.

Ultimately, if you can’t explain something to your child, there’s a major problem with it. And if you have no problem explaining this to your child, and, in fact, think it’s totally OK, there’s also a major problem with you.

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