The Washington football team name has to go

December 13, 2013 

It's time for the NFL team that represents our nation's capital to change its name. It's the right thing to do. Having a team name that's a deeply offensive slur can no longer be rationalized or tolerated.

Admittedly I was slow to see the tree for the forest. My seminal moment came recently when I listened to a NPR talk show that focused on this issue. It highlighted the struggles of a Native American family that lived in the capital region. Their school-age sons yearned to be fans of Washington's football team but they were deeply conflicted since their chosen team's name is also an ethnic slur directed squarely at their culture.

I'm embarrassed that growing up I used terms that I now know were inappropriate. I just didn't know any better at the time. The NFL's Washington franchise surely doesn't have that excuse. Its offensive moniker is as plain as the nose on team owner, Dan Snyder's face. The Oxford dictionary says, "the term (r-word) has acquired unfavorable

connotation or denotation ... and become a term of disparagement."

Imagine the African-American or gay community outrage if one of their detested slurs was the team's name. There would be marching in the D.C. streets and boycotts on game days at FedExField.

Maybe Native Americans need an Al Sharpton-like activist to stir the stick of public consciousness, orchestrate public outcry and thus induce needed change? It's a national disgrace.

Bill Malec

O'Fallon

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