Weighing in on a possible slur and stipend

Is Redskins racist and should college athletes be paid? Discuss.

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By Brad Spencer

Contributing Columnist

Hello, welcome to our focus group. We're so glad you could make it. Let's get started.

Should the Washington Redskins change their name because it's been deemed offensive by a few Native Americans and apparently some righteous sportswriters, most recently Christine Brennan of USA Today and Sports Illustrated's Peter King? And should major college football players be paid?

These are the two important topics we find ourselves deliberating on this fine September morn. In order to better gauge your perspective on both these topics, let's try a word association test. I'll present a word and you say the first thing that comes to mind.


"Tomahawk chop."


"Florida State."


"Atlanta Braves."

Hmmm, I think we're getting somewhere here. I think you're not offended by an NFL football team's use of Redskins at all. You don't consider it racist. Now, why do you suppose that is?

"Because when I use it or hear it I selfishly and appropriately think of the sports team and not Native Americans. Besides, if a small tribal group is offended and has convinced a few sports writers not to refer to the team as the Redskins, then shouldn't the Yankees be under the same scrutiny? As a Yank, I might be offended by its derogatory overtones. Would the Cleveland Indians fall into that same category of mildly offensive to some when Native Americans is the politically correct term?  

"As a half Irishman — the half where my liver resides — I might also take offense to the use of the term paddy wagon, but I'm not crying foul over it. Let's move on to the next topic. Go."







I'm not exactly tuning in on a position you might have on this topic. Because of the amount of revenue college sports draws, particularly through football and basketball, should the NCAA allow college athletes to be paid?

"No. Well, yes. But they already do. They're called scholarships and from what I understand they are quite lucrative. Not only is tuition taken care of, but these student athletes have access to state-of-the-art training equipment, among other amenities. There are also luxurious lounges for these kids to enjoy, complete with billiards tables, enormous flatscreen televisions, leather recliners and free popcorn. Did you hear me, free popcorn! 

"All the profit generated from major college sports teams should go into reducing tuition for the kid who is unable to secure a sports or academic scholarship. Paying the athletes, which the NCAA is considering in regards to at least a $2,000 stipend, would only lead to more scandals like the one recently revealed at Oklahoma State. Someone is always going to warrant a little extra cash here or there. You start down that road and more trouble will soon follow. 

"Now, where do I pick up my pay for this focus group? I wanna catch the Central Michigan Chippewas football game."


Contact: Bspencer@oakpark.com

Email: bspencer@oakpark.com Twitter: OakParkSports

Reader Comments

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Tom from RF  

Posted: November 9th, 2013 9:52 AM

The team, the name, it is FINE. It is a honor to the grit, determination and character to those that have the history and lore of our country. Because our wonderful Redskins are based in DC, those that are so political correct (nothing to do but run around and tear down history) they want to tell a business what is right. THIS is not government, this is Football.


Posted: October 30th, 2013 9:39 AM

Yes Jim and without those "government policies" you wouldn't be able to sit at your keyboard while cowardly asking for people to be fired and purporting yourself to be an expert on everything.

Brad from OP  

Posted: October 30th, 2013 7:19 AM

The name Redskins is an honor and shows the great history and devotion of the American Indian to what is now the United States. Leave History alone, there is no BAD intent here. Oh, did we say this is a Business - and the people who buy the tickets and pay the salaries and drive business in the area - are fine with it. Name this for what it is -- Politics -- to try and create a cause. Nothin more. Stop going back in time and navel gazing, look forward to greatness.

Why not?  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 4:11 PM

Native Americans find the term redskin offensive. This is a good enough reason to me for doing away with the name. Same as the confederate flag. It stands for dissolution of the country by the half that wanted slavery to continue. This bothers a lot of people, so why not put the rebel flag to rest? Do white people really need these symbols around to feel good about themselves?

National Enquirer from The Land of Narnia  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 3:27 PM

My race is considered "white" but my skin isn't. And "Black" people don't actually have black skin. Neither of these are considered offensive. So why is red supposedly a slur?

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 3:19 PM

Sorry Jim, an inanimate object never speaks to me.

Banana Slug from Santa Cruz, CA  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 3:05 PM

Please leave me out of this.

Yankee is a slur  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 2:29 PM

Do we get rid of all the pirate-related mascots given the brutality? Can't have Vikings either. The Bulls refer to the slaughterhouses and stockyards..animal rights people can't be happy with that. Or maybe mascots are chosen as a sign of respect and admiration? Unless you're the Santa Cruz Banana Slugs.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 1:57 PM

Still comes off as insensitive and offensive. The US government policies and treatment of Native Americans resulted in a genocide that one historian stated exceeds that of the Holocaust.

marquette warrior from oak park  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 1:42 PM

C'mon yourself, Jim. The logo does not speak for itself, in any way other than a relatively dignified portrayal of a native American. Stoic, proud, honorable. If you see anything else in it, that's your issue. Genocide, you say. No. Advance of civilization, survival of the fittest? Yes. Genocide, sorry. That's way too extreme. Once more, let's focus on things that truly matter...i.e. the mental health crisis in this country, gang (not gun) violence, staggering federal & state debt, etc. Peace

Drew Carey from Cleveland Rocks  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 1:29 PM

Jim, that wisecrack was good enough for the Tonight Show when discussing the Cleveland Indians.... Johnny laughed.

Woo from Oak Park  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 12:28 PM

From what I've read, the term originated as a reference to a specific tribes use of red paint as war decoration during battles.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 12:01 PM

Come on, Brian. The team logo speaks for itself. It's puzzling why the forum moderator did not remove the posting by "Drew Carey". Wisecracks concerning the genocide of Native Americans are offensive.

Gregg Easterbrook from ESPN  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 10:24 AM

Washington could change their logo to a potato to keep the name Redskins. But technically, the Washington part isn't right either, as the team practices in Virginia and performs in Maryland. The correct name should be the "Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons".

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 9:54 AM

College athletes should be paid and the NCAA needs to stop this farce that they are "student" athletes. Call it what it is... a farm system for football and basketball.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: September 19th, 2013 9:36 AM

How do we know that the tern "Redskins" does not refer to the color of the football?


Posted: September 19th, 2013 9:34 AM

Hey, Warrior. Still smarting from the change to Golden Eagles, huh? To me, Warrior or Blackhawks or Braves is fine. Redskins, Indians, Chinks, etc. - not so much.

marquette warrior from Oak Park  

Posted: September 18th, 2013 9:20 PM

A non-issue that doesn't deserve any time from anyone. If "Redskins" offends your sensibilities, you need to look in the mirror and get a life. So we need to change "redskin" potato; "black" Russian; "indian" summer? It's all idiotic. There are serious issues confronting us and you want to focus on this? Please grow up...

Drew Carey from Cleceland Rocks  

Posted: September 18th, 2013 7:04 PM

If they did not want sports teams named after them, they should have fought harder.


Posted: September 18th, 2013 4:40 PM

To call a sports team by the color of a people's skin is patently racist in modern times. Just because it has a history doesn't make it right. The Washington football team's name should be changed - now. It is a no brainer.

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