Change the name of the Washington professional football team

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We are pleased that Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Football Team (WFT), shed the previous name, R-skin, which is a dictionary defined racial slur. 

The WFT has not decided on a permanent name. The WFT must not select a new name that amounts to another Native American mascot.

In the Washington Post article, Rivera Hopes New Name is in Place before Season, it appears that the WFT could repeat mistakes of the first owner that resulted in a dictionary defined racial slur being the name of the team. The interview with Coach Rivera suggests that the WFT has already narrowed the choice to two or three names that combine Native American and military themes. Academic studies and Native American advocates have made it clear that any Native American images and mascots are unacceptable and are damaging stereotypes.

Even so called positive names such as Warriors are harmful as they constrain the public’s view of Native American characteristics and their place in society.

A permanent switch away from Native American mascots, names, and logos would boost the efforts against racism and help repair harms inflicted by Native American stereotyping. Although nearly 2,000 high schools across this country have eliminated Native American mascots and names, more than 1,950 high schools still use these damaging names. In the wake of your decision to drop a racial slur as the team’s name and image, high school districts across the county have accelerated their name changes away from demeaning Native American mascots. A new name that does not include such stereotypes will continue the momentum in the rebranding of our nation’s schools and will help promote racial harmony and understanding.