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Washington Redskins Name Change? Winning Season And Growing Popularity Rekindles Debate

5:07 PM, Feb 7, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Is this the time when momentum gains traction to change the Redskins name?

It's been the subject of years of debate.

It was also the focus of a symposium at the National Museum of the American Indian titled 'Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports.'

The Washington Redskins name and logo have been debated, dragged through the courts for years, and it goes on today.

With Robert Griffin III's star power and a winning season under their belts, could momentum be shifting on a possible name change.

"I think when people say Redskins we hear cup or bedspread. The sound is the same, but when you go to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota that name is equivalent to the 'N' word," said Washington Post Sports Columnist Mike Wise.

Wise is a panelist in Thursday's forum and has been a champion for change.

Choctaw and Chickasaw nations' Robert Holden says the burgundy and gold name is hurtful.

"they may feel they're honoring a designation but not to us."

Its name and logo were part of a 17-year court battle.

In 2009 the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal.

Through the decades, college football teams have done away with Native American mascots and names, but will one of the most visible follow suit?

Fans have mixed feelings.
"absolutely not change their name, no way!"
"they're still going to be my team, Washington Redskins, Washington Chili Bowl what ever they are."
"As a rival, you gotta keep it the same Cowboy vs. Redskins. It's tradition you gotta keep it that way."

Holden says a powwow is long overdue on changing the name that's offensive to Native Americans.

Robert Holden, Choctaw, "Earlier in our dark history in this country it was to show that native people had been captured or killed to show they were returning the skins as bounties."

Mayor Vincent Gray avoided calling the Washington's NFL franchise by name in his State of the District speech this week.

Wise says it will take a courageous commissioner and team owner to enact a name change and it would most likely involve a financial incentive.
Meantime a new lawsuit is expected to be heard next month at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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