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Tony Jones: It's time for the Washington Redskins to make a name change

Published July 27, 2013 4:16 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I was blinded by love, but now I see.

A few of you who follow me through the channels of social media know that I bleed the burgundy and gold of the Washington Redskins. And because of that devotion, I have until recently resisted any notion of changing what has become an increasingly controversial nickname.

The Washington organization is now under serious pressure to do away with all things Redskins. So far, though, team owner Daniel Snyder is holding firm. He says there are no plans for a name change in the works.

Originally, I found nothing wrong with this. In fact, I supported Snyder's stance. There's a lot of history and tradition that goes with that nickname, and I had difficulty envisioning what Washington's NFL team would look like with another name. No more 'Hail to the Redskins?' Perish the thought.

But I was misguided. It's clear that there's also a huge sensitivity issue here. The name is extremely offensive to all Native Americans. It's racist and it's hurtful. Former Washington greats Art Monk and Darrell Green are now on the record in opposing the nickname. It's time for me to unload my sentimentality, too.

It's time to make a change.

The problem: Snyder seems utterly intent on keeping the Redskins name. Short of suffering significant financial consequences for keeping the nickname, it's hard to see how he can be persuaded to do the right thing.

However, this is a man who already has a credibility problem. He's not exactly the most popular guy among his NFL his peers. He's flamboyant and has had a brash insistence on spending gobs of money — with mostly disastrous results. He has clumsily tried to buy Super Bowl championships and been an abject failure.

The media hates him because he has done everything possible to make life impossible for the local scribes. And the Washington fans? They love their team, but they also want a winner. And until just recently, Snyder has failed at that, too. So he's really missing an opportunity to score some points here.

Someone should inform Snyder that there's precedent for these situations. Remember St. John's? They went from the Redmen to the Red Storm. I remember hating the name change at first. But now, I barely remember the original nickname.

If Snyder relented and made the switch, he would be commended almost universally. He would also be doing the right thing. This is 2013, and the world we live in can always use a little more sensitivity, no matter how small or large the gesture.

Most importantly, it would take a sideshow off the table and allow fans like me to go back to concentrating on the game. And rooting for Washington's football team. No matter what the nickname.

Isn't that what it's all about?

tjones@sltrib.com