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Blame Boston for the racist Washington football name that is finally getting changed

Today's news that the Washington NFL team is finally changing its name (after FedEx and other sponsors vowed to walk away) ends an 88-year racist streak that started at Fenway Park.

In 1932, George Preston Marshall won the rights to set up a pro football team in Boston. He initially called the team the Braves - in their first season, they shared Braves Stadium (where BU's Nickerson Field is today) with the baseball team of the same name. But the next year, the team moved to Fenway Park, and Marshall decided to change the name.

The Globe briefly reported at the time:

The new name is rather appropriate in more than one sense. The head and since the close of the 1932 season, Pres Marshall and Coach Dietz have signed up a number of Indian players.

Marshall also said he was honoring William "Lone Star" Dietz, who himself claimed to be part Oglala Sioux and who played football at an Indian school with Jim Thorpe under coach Pop Warner.

In fact, unlike Thorpe, Dietz may have been a white guy who adopted the identity of a native American, William Lone Star, who disappeared after being dishonorably discharged from the Army. Dietz spent a month in jail for using his alleged native ancestry to avoid military service himself.

As for the football team, it didn't last long in Boston, which had few pro-football fans, and moved to Washington in 1937.

Next up: The Braves? They started here, too, at a field nicknamed the Wigwam.

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Comments

Oooooooor you could just blame Marshal who was born, raised and lived in West Virginia right up until he won a contract for a team to be based in Boston.

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Voting closed 26

But don't forget his original name for the team was the Braves, as in the baseball team, whose field they shared for their first season, and which was not exactly a westa-Worcester institution. When he moved his team a couple stops down the Comm. Ave. trolley line, he decided to change the name to end the confusion (which was common back then - Brooklyn at the time a baseball team and a football team both named the Dodgers).

So he was clearly playing to the local audience. Had there not been the Braves already, who knows, maybe he would have picked another name, like, oh, I don't know, Minutemen or Patriots or something (then again, maybe not, since it was more common to use various names for native Americans for sporting teams back then anyway).

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Voting closed 22

For 24 years the flagship UMass Campus in Amherst was home to the Redmen, but they eventually changed their mascot name to the Minute Men to be more culturally sensitive.

In 1972.

From Wikipedia
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/UMass_Minutemen_and_Minutewomen

When athletic teams were first fielded by Massachusetts Agricultural College, the popular nickname was "Statesmen", in honor of the roles of Massachusetts statesmen in the founding of the country. Although "Aggies" was also used, by 1948 the school, which had changed its name to the University of Massachusetts the year before, decided a new nickname was in order. From the leading choices, Redmen was chosen, both for the roles Native Americans served in the history of the Commonwealth and for their "strength and fierceness in defending his lands."

However, by 1972, Native Americans in the region were calling the choice of nickname into question for the derogatory connotations of the name.

(My apologies; I can never get the ‘href’ link html to work right here.)

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Voting closed 18

About 20 years ago, there was talk of getting rid of the Minute Men, because the statute shows a man holding a gun.

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Voting closed 13

Please don’t give the UHub commenters any ideas.

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Voting closed 29

Got an article on this? i was in grad school at the time and I remember hearing "stories" about it happening 20 years before that ...

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Voting closed 17

It happened when I was there, so sometime between 1992 and 1998. I clearly remember the guy who was pushing the whole thing, but I can't remember his name.

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Voting closed 7

A new survey has found that Native Americans are more likely to be proud than offended by the name of the Washington Redskins. -- NBC Sports, August 2019

Once again, here come the white liberals declaring that Native Americans aren't smart enough to know what's good for them. Even the far-left Washington Post admitted their own poll showed 73 percent of Native Americans are proud of the name Redskins while a whopping 90% said the name doesn't bother them. Fear not, white liberals have taken it from them anyway. This bigotry is nothing new for the left. After all, imposter Elizabeth Warren, in her own penmanship, wrote "American Indian" as her race on an application. This meant she took a job from a minority. The punishment after being exposed? A US Senate seat in heavily Democrat MA. This after the lilly-white, blonde, Warren was advertised (she didn't object) as the first "Woman of Color" to teach at Harvard Law.

At least likely voters are catching on. The empy seats and booing from the few fans who attend will be the best part of NFL games this fall.

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Voting closed 42

To find the bright side of a pandemic that is killing large numbers of Americans (that's why the seats will be empty, but you know that).

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Voting closed 29

From the same Post article you quote:

The name is a dictionary-defined slur, whether or not 10 percent of Native Americans or 50 percent of your co-workers or your favorite aunt acknowledge it.

It goes on that the survey...

was conducted through a Web-based survey of 500 people who self-identified as Native American.

Wow. A web-based survey of “self-identified” Native Americans. “Self identified” Native American is exactly how Warren presented herself yet you you dismiss her claim is illegitimate.

You can’t have it both ways: either Warren’s self claim to NA heritage is illegitimate and dismissible, therefore the same standard and dismissal must be applied to the self-identified NA web survey respondents, or all the self identified NA people you mention are fully legitimate. Gratuitously dragging Senator Warren into this does not help your argument in any way.

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Voting closed 40

Compare and contrast. "Redskins" vs a few high schools in upstate New York whose teams are known as the "Mohawks." The differences are (1) "Redskins" is a slur, while "Mohawks" is the proper name of a people, and (2), at some of those high schools, the students have said, "60-75% of us on the team depending on the year are actual verified Mohawk, and we like the name just fine."

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Voting closed 23

Winchester Sachems?

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Voting closed 9

I would have to know a lot more about the term “sachem” to have a position on that. There are levels of nuance as well. Personally, for example, I think “Ninjas” would be an awesome team name, but not if accompanied by a slanty-eyed cartoon mascot and pseudo-Asian iconography. “Vikings” is different from “Redskins” because, while they are both ethnic references, one is a slur and the other is not, and one refers to a group that was defeated and oppressed by our nation and the other does not.

A certain measure of thought and reflection and hearing from people other than the ones with whom you get together to watch games goes a long way

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Voting closed 13

It was the Redskins sponsors who forced the change, starting with Bank Of America, Nike, Pepsi, and of course Fedex. You can't blame them for not wanting their products associated with that name. Isn't this just capitalism, something I thought even right wing nuts are for?

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Voting closed 11

imposter Elizabeth Warren, in her own penmanship, wrote "American Indian" as her race on an application.

This is a lie.

This meant she took a job from a minority.

This is a lie.

How do you expect anyone to take you seriously if you can't even get the basic facts correct regarding your hate-crush?

(Don't answer that, it's a rhetorical question.)

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Voting closed 23

Even if it were true, who cares? Let's stop pretending this isn't fake outrage.

People don't like her policies but can't argue with the truth behind them, so they hang on to this and pretend they care, even though it has no bearing on the validity of her stances.

And first in line to complain can be Native Americans, not white guys with a history of only being around or agreeing with other white guys.

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Voting closed 14

Elizabeth Warren's career is the only instance I've ever seen where conservatives were in favor of affirmative action for minorities.

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Voting closed 11

off the kind of shitbirds that routinely repeat those same, dull, debunked-a-thousand-times lies about Warren and her native ancestry.

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Voting closed 14

The team was called the football Braves and when they moved to the home of the RED Sox they became the REDskins

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Voting closed 17

And you forget the Boston Braves.

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