Redskins Football Will Soon Be No More

Leaders of the Oneida nation in New York recently called for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League to stop using "Redskins" as their team name.

They're right of course, as this name is an abomination in America. This Indian -- better said Native American --mascot, should go the way of the Redmen of St. John's University and Chief Illiniwek of the University of Illinois.

Look throughout America's backyards and no longer do you find little boys playing Cowboys and Indians. Indeed, that simple game of yesteryear just promoted violence and inequality with one side holding plastic guns with the other being equipped with bows and arrows.

That hardly seems like a fair proposition. Besides, we all know that these little boys holding guns will eventually turn into crazed gun-toting adults who insist on having guns to supposedly protect themselves.

And, of course, the Cowboys are always the good guys while the Indians -- again, sorry Native Americans -- are the bad guys. What an atrocious stereotype. Everybody knows that the early Americans were the villains and took advantage of the Native Americans.

Besides, our kids shouldn't be Cowboys anyway, as the term implies that girls can't do the job. "Cowperson" doesn't sound right either and regardless of terminology, do we want our kids to pretend to be people who disrespect animals so much, like the Cowboys, such that they raise them only to butcher them for meat? How horrifying!

When we think of Native American names, whether it's the Redskins of Washington, or Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves or Cleveland Indians, we see images of their endearing qualities, not negative characteristics or stereotypes.

It's not as though the Redskins logo is of an Indian drinking a beer, which would highlight the ongoing high level of alcoholism in the Native American community. Nor does the logo have a Native American dealing cards at a casino. Again, that could be construed as being offensive, as to stereotyping that all Native Americans are casino workers.

Instead, the Redskins team name and other Native American mascots inspire thoughts of a brave warrior. They symbolize strength and determination regardless of the situation.

"Redskins" is no different in these terms than is the NFL's "Patriots" of New England, with a Patriot seen as a brave and passionate fighter against all odds. It's hard to imagine the Daughters of the American Revolution ever protesting that the New England Patriots change their name.

The Redskins name pales in comparison when we consider other possibly offensive sports names. As an example, take the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. That name immediately brings to mind a bunch of drunk, Irish Catholics who do nothing but bare-knuckle fight.

Let's not forget the Ragin Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette University. While the mascot is a chilli pepper, the term Ragin Cajun makes one think of an enraged Cajun who has a short fuse and flies off the handle at a moment's notice.

If I were Irish-Catholic or Cajun, I'd have a far better case upon which to take offense than Native Americans do towards the term "Redskins". Certainly not all Cajuns fit that mold.

All this said though, it's just a matter of time before the Redskins name is a relic of the past. Ours is a tolerance-infatuated society. If an infinitesimally small and loud group cries foul over something being discriminatory, as meaningless as a logo, we jump at the opportunity to right such a horrible and abusive wrong.

Changing the Redskins name isn't going to make it easier for our nation's Native Americans to sleep at night or improve their chances at a job. It is a complete waste of time and energy.

Except that it will cost the Washington Redskins franchise millions of dollars to make that change and, in the end then, it will fulfill a great liberal principal. That is to take from the rich (Washington Redskins ownership), remind white people of past injustices (Pioneers' and Founders' treatment of Native Americans), while effectively solving nothing.

Chad Stafko is a writer and political consultant living in the Midwest. He can be reached at stafko@msn.com