Posted May 02, 2013 on AP on Fox
It's been a rough offseason for the Washington Redskins, and not just because of the knee injury to star quarterback Robert Griffin III. The team's nickname, which some consider a derogatory term for Native Americans, has faced a barrage of criticism. Local leaders and pundits have called for a name change. Opponents have launched a legal challenge intended to deny the team federal trademark protection. A bill introduced in Congress in March would do the same, though it appears unlikely to pass. But a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that nationally, ''Redskins'' still enjoys widespread support. Nearly four in five Americans don't think the team should change its name, the survey found. Only 11 percent think it should be changed, while 8 percent weren't sure and 2 percent didn't answer. Although 79 percent favor keeping the name, that does represent a 10 percentage point drop from the last national poll on the subject, conducted in 1992 by The Washington Post and ABC News just before the team won its most recent Super Bowl. Then, 89 percent said the name should not be changed, and 7 percent said it should. The AP-GfK poll was conducted from April 11-15. It included interviews with 1,004 adults on both land lines and cell phones. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points. Several poll respondents told The AP that they did not consider the name offensive and cited tradition in arguing that it shouldn't change. ''That's who they've been forever. That's who they're known as,'' said Sarah Lee, a 36-year-old stay-at-home mom from Osceola, Ind. ''I think we as a people make race out to be a bigger issue than it is.'' But those who think the name should be changed say the word is obviously derogatory. ''With everything that Native Americans have gone through in this country, to have a sports team named the Redskins - come on, now. It's bad,'' said Pamela Rogal, 56, a writer from Boston. ''Much farther down the road, we're going to look back on this and say, `Are you serious? Did they really call them the Washington Redskins?' It's a no-brainer.'' Among football fans, 11 percent said the name should be changed - the same as among non-fans. Among nonwhite football fans, 18 percent said it should change, about double the percentage of white football fans who oppose the name. In Washington, debate over the name has increased in recent months. In February, the National Museum of the American Indian held a daylong symposium on the use of Indian mascots by sports teams. Museum Director Kevin Gover, of the Pawnee Nation, said the word ''redskin'' was ''the equivalent of the n-word.'' District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, a Democrat, suggested that the team would have to consider changing the name if it wanted to play its home games in the city again. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the district in Congress, said she's a fan of the team but avoids saying ''Redskins.'' Just this week, a D.C. councilmember introduced a resolution calling for a name change, and it appears to have enough support to pass, although the council has no power over the team. ''We need to get rid of it,'' said longtime local news anchor Jim Vance in a commentary that aired in February. Vance, of WRC-TV, revealed that he has avoided using the name on the air for the past few years. Other media outlets have done the same. The Washington City Paper substitutes the name ''Pigskins,'' and DCist.com announced in February that it would avoid using the name in print. The Kansas City Star also has a policy against printing ''Redskins.'' In March, a three-judge panel heard arguments from a group of five Native American petitioners that the team shouldn't have federal trademark protection, which could force owner Daniel Snyder into a change by weakening him financially. A decision isn't expected for up to a year, and the Redskins are sure to appeal if it doesn't go their way. A similar case, ultimately won by the team, was filed in 1992 and needed 17 years to go through the legal system before the Supreme Court declined to intervene. Several poll respondents told AP that they were unaware of the ongoing debate. ''If we're going to say that `Redskins' is an offensive term, like the n-word or something like that, I haven't heard that,'' said David Black, 38, a football fan from Edmond, Okla., who doesn't think a change is necessary. George Strange, 52, of Jacksonville, Fla., who feels the name should change, said people might change their minds if they become more educated about the word and its history. ''My opinion, as I've gotten older, has changed. When I was younger, it was not a big deal. I can't get past the fact that it's a racial slur,'' Strange said. ''I do have friends that are Redskins fans and ... they can't step aside and just look at it from a different perspective.'' There's precedent for a Washington team changing its name because of cultural sensitivities. The late Washington Bullets owner Abe Pollin decided the nickname was inappropriate because of its association with urban violence, and in 1997, the NBA team was rechristened the Wizards. Other professional sports teams have Native American nicknames, including the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs and baseball's Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians. But former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, who is Native American, said ''Redskins'' is much worse because of its origins and its use in connection with bounties on Indians. ''There's a derogatory name for every ethnic group in America, and we shouldn't be using those words,'' Campbell said, adding that many people don't realize how offensive the word is. ''We probably haven't gotten our message out as well as it should be gotten out.'' Numerous colleges and universities have changed names that reference Native Americans. St. John's changed its mascot from the Redmen to the Red Storm, Marquette is now the Golden Eagles instead of the Warriors and Stanford switched from the Indians to the Cardinal. Synder, however, has been adamant that the name should not change, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he supports the team's stance. General Manager Bruce Allen said in March that the team isn't considering a new name. Following the symposium at the museum, the team posted a series of articles on its official website that spotlighted some of the 70 U.S. high schools that use the nickname Redskins. ''There is nothing that we feel is offensive,'' Allen said. ''And we're proud of our history.''
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Robert Griffin III knows he made a mistake by staying in the Seahawks game

Washington Redskins quarterback told ESPN the Magazine that he realizes that staying in last season’s playoff game against the Seahawks was a mistake. “I don’t feel like playing against the Seahawks was a mistake. But I see the mistake IN IT,” Griffin said, via Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post.   Griffin elaborated. “With what happened and how everything was running...

Robert Griffin III Tweets About Political Correctness, Likely Referencing Redskins’ Potential Name Change

The Washington Redskins’ name continues to be controversial, and, recently, local politicians again began to put pressure on the franchise to change it. However, according to the team’s star quarterback, that all may be just a bunch of P.C. hogwash. On Tuesday, after the moniker again started to make headlines, Robert Griffin III took to Twitter, decrying the evils of political...

RG3 was the Star at the White House Correspondents Dinner After Party

Just another normal weekend for Robert Griffin III, jumping jacks on national television and then a controversy surrounding whether or not he would attend the White House Correspondents Dinner. Griffin didn’t attend the dinner (per team representative), but he did join the after-party with Daniel and Tanya Snyder. Of all the A-list Hollywood types at...

When Robert Griffin III Speaks--or Tweets--People Listen (or Read)

It must be tough to be in your early 20s and have the weight of a fan base resting on your shoulders--or in Robert Griffin III's case his knees. The pressure on guys like him is intense from performing on the field, doing the right thing off the field, and saying nothing that anyone can twist or misinterpret to get in you in hot water with, well--anyone. So when a player such...

RG3: “People say DC’s my Town not Obama’s, I Don’t Look at it That way, But I can see What They’re Saying”

“A lot of people have said DC’s my town, it’s not Obama’s town,” RG3 says. “Obama’s the second most popular person in the city. I don’t look at it that way. But I can see what they’re saying....

Robert Griffin III Admits Should Not Have Been Playing in Playoff Game

The most talked about knees in the nation's capital do not belong to the President or the First Lady, but the 23-year old quarterback of the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III. Will they--especially the one injured in the playoff game--be good to go on Opening Day in a few months? No one knows; it all depends on how well RG3 rehabs his injury. We do know one thing--RG3...

Robert Griffin III Covers ESPN Mag

Whoop de doo Juan… So far it’s been a great 1st day of May, and Washington Redskins Quaterback Robert Griffin III is a coverboy for ESPN Magazine 15th year anniversary issue. To See the RG3 pics click here. RG3 Does Jumping Jacks On Draft Day RG3 Shows Off His Backswing

RGIII Runs Afoul Of The PC Police

Robert Griffin III crafted the perfect statement of controversial vagueness yesterday afternoon, when he tweeted out this melodramatic rant against the agents of political correctness. This, of course, led many to speculate exactly what issue had caused such agita in the young quarterback. Was he upset that he had to hold back against misguided government do-gooders and Native Americans...

RG3: I want Redskins to make Cowboys Stadium ‘home’

During a pep rally on Saturday, RGIII said he wants to make Cowboys Stadium his “home” (Credit: AP Photo/Tim Sharp) On Saturday, the Washington Redskins held a pep rally at FedEx Field for the team’s fan. During the rally, quarterback Robert Griffin III took some time to talk to the crowd and get the fans excited about the possibility of him coming back week one. Griffin, took...

NFC East: post-draft stock watch

Washington Redskins, DOWN: The Redskins addressed some of their needs, but they didn't do anything in the draft to help keep their young star, Robert Griffin III, safe. If he gets banged up again, we'll be looking back at the draft wondering why the Redskins didn't spend the farm protecting one of the most electric players in football. New York Giants, UP: Giants...

Robert Griffin III Sure Knows How to Feed a Rivalry

When Robert Griffin III was at Baylor he and the Bears did play against a rival or two, but since the Bears had been so historically bad the games never got much attention. However now that he is in Washington--one of the oldest franchises in football--he has a couple great rivals he'll get to compete against. Like the Dallas Cowboys; whose fans and team he gave some trash...

Redskins Team Name Receives Widespread Support, According to National Poll

WASHINGTON — It’s been a rough offseason for the Washington Redskins, and not just because of the knee injury to star quarterback Robert Griffin III. The team’s nickname has faced a new barrage of criticism for being offensive to Native Americans. Local leaders and pundits have called for a name change. Opponents have launched a legal challenge intended to deny the team federal...

Photos: Blake Griffin, Robert Griffin III, Rounda Rousey, Bryce Harper For ESPN The Magazine ’15 Year Anniversary Isse’

ESPN The Magazine is celebrating 15 years of success with an “Anniversary Issue” featuring four excellent covers with superstar athletes Blake Griffin, Robert Griffin III, Ronda Rousey, & Bryce Harper. Check out their fun-filled shoot below, which cover is your favorite. Blake Griffin(Los Angeles Clippers) John Vavartos jeans, J.Crew shirt, Saint Laurent necktie, Air Jordan...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.