In the face of mounting opposition from Native American pressure groups as sensitivities escalate, speculation is increasing the NFL team ‘The Washington Redskins’, could be forced into a name change in the not too distant future. And it is rumoured that one of the favoured options in the case of such an eventuality, could have a Scottish ring to it. The gossip has its route in the supposed fact that a neighbour of Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder, has taken out a trademark on the name ‘Washington Bravehearts’.
The team have been known as the ‘Redskins’, for over forty years and their uniforms’ helmets bare the insignia of a Native American chief. However, in recent years opposition to the use of the term ‘Redskins’, has been growing with many Native Americans finding it offensive and racially insulting. If the franchise decides that the term is indeed no longer acceptable due to modern sensitivities, it would be forced to make a move to rename the team. With Aris Mardirossian, a reputedly close friend and neighbour of the franchise’s owner registering ‘Washington Bravehearts’, as a trademark for use ‘for entertainment in the nature of football games’, the speculation is that it was as a favour to Snyder in an attempt to avoid publicity at this stage.
However, Snyder himself as well as Mardirossian and the Redskins’ press office have all moved to dampen the speculation over the significance of the move. Snyder and the franchise have vehemently denied any name change is on the cards and have gone so far as to deny that the two neighbours even know each other. This, however, is thought to be clearly untrue by those in the know who say the neighbours are indeed friends. Despite the fact that a recent poll suggested that four in five Americans don’t believe the name to be offensive and that the team should keep it, it does seem as though the protestations from Snyder and the Redskins are a little too loud. Perhaps the most likely scenario is that measures are simply being taken to have some good alternatives for a possible day where a name change is forced.