Column: No debate necessary over Washington name

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We can argue ad nauseam over whether nicknames such as “Braves” and “Chiefs” are slurs against Native Americans.

There are valid points on both sides of that issue.

But there is no gray area when it comes to the name of the NFL team in Washington.

That term is racist _ pure and simple.

It’s time for the NFL to take a stand on something besides its bottom line, to take whatever steps are necessary to force the team’s petulant owner, Dan Snyder, to change that horrific name.

Rest assured, it will happen at some point. Washington’s NFL team is on the wrong side of history, not unlike those who argued for segregation or against gay rights.

But what about the team’s history? Doesn’t that account for something?


Not at all (especially since the owner who came up with this name in the 1930s, George Preston Marshall, was clearly a racist).

“It is hard to justify keeping a team name purely for tradition when that name has ties to a time in our nation’s past when there was a bounty on each (offensive term deleted) an `Indian fighter’ brought in to a military outpost,” said Dennis Deninger, a longtime production executive at ESPN who now teaches sports communication at Syracuse University. “The time to break with that past is long overdue.”

Seriously, this should be an easy one for the NFL. Those who actually study the origins of our language and define what it all means are in complete agreement on this word. The Oxford Dictionaries describes it as “dated” and “offensive.” Merriam-Webster says the word “is very offensive and should be avoided.”

Snyder keeps insisting that he won’t be pressured into changing his team’s offensive moniker.

In many ways, he reminds me of former Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson, who famously said the home of the Masters would not be forced into accepting women members “at the point of the bayonet.”

Well, look what happened a couple of years ago. Augusta National doled out green jackets to a pair of females. The world went on. The Masters wasn’t the least bit affected.

In a letter to season-ticket holders last month, Snyder addressed the issue at length for the first time with such nonsense as the name being a “badge of honor,” going back to the franchise having a Native American coach during its early days in Boston.

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