Redskins logo fuels debate
Dan Snyder , the owner of the Washington Redskins, is singing a controversial tune entitled “Hail to the Redskins.” The face of an Indian chief on the helmet and logo of the Washington Redskins football team has generated a national Monday morning water cooler debate.
Snyder has publicly stated that he is not giving up the Redskins logo nor team name no matter how zealous the outcries become.
Approximately two dozen Oneida Indians came out in protest of the Redskins logo at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin prior to the Redskins- Packers game on Sunday. Native Americans have a far more serious problem on their hands which necessitates awareness other than the logo: the alarming rate of teen suicide amongst Native Americans.
Instead of the logo being a pivotal discussion about racist legacy let us utilize this debate and bring attention to the welfare of the Native American youth.
True, the storied logo has been a lightening rod for discussion as far back as the late 1990’s. Yet is this where the attention needs to be shining on the Native Americans at large, particularly the young? I think not.
“The Washington Redskins logo may disparage Native Americans and bring them into contempt or disrespect.” This sentiment was stated in 1999 by the National Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in regards to the logo and name of the team of the Washington D.C. based football franchise.
Yet it is interesting to note that this vote was overturned and in 2004 The Annenberg Survey stated that 90% of Native Americans polled were not offended by the logo.
There have been varying degrees of public outcry both in favor of and against the use of the iconic Indian chief logo.
This past May, ten members of the United Sates Congress sent National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell and Redskin’s owner Snyder sent a missive urging a logo change and name of the team. Congress is involved?
What next? Will Notre Dame be taken to task for its moniker of being called the “Fighting Irish? Is the Florida Seminoles football team chosen logo seen as disrespectful to the Seminole Indians?
The controversy that needs to be listened to in the halls of Congress is the inner turmoil and high rate of suicide within the Native American community.
Congress and others need not be wasting time, efforts, and monies on discussing a decades old logo; rather Congress, Native Americans and the public at large should be concerned with the extra ordinarily high rate of teen suicide amongst Native Americans. The unseemly rate of young deaths is a staggering 70% higher than that of the general population.
No doubt Dan Snyder is a brilliant and masterful billionaire and philanthropist. Perhaps he should use this current platform of debate as one of endearment and bring plight to the high suicide rate of Native Americans in the 10- 24 year old age group. Snyder has an unsolicited worldwide audience at his feet to perhaps enable monetary aid, education and much needed counseling to the young .Quite simply, use it.
Dan Snyder has the vehicles and means to help facilitate change for the lives of the Redskins community.
May the Redskin’s logo in the end create a more positive outcome for the Native American Indians and their offspring.