Champ Bailey, the New Orleans Saints cornerback who started his career with the Washington Redskins, has jumped on the bandwagon of those who want to see the team change their team’s name. Bailey told USA Today:
I don’t know where the name came from or how it came about, but the bottom line is that it’s still here in this day and age, and it makes no sense to have it. I love that organization, but when it starts peeling off old scabs and people are pitching a fit about it because it’s degrading to them, then you’ve got to make a change. I get it, [owner Daniel Snyder] doesn’t want to change it. But he’s making it worse than it should be.
Other athletes have also spoken up about the issue, including recently retired linebacker London Fletcher, who said:
You know, I spent seven years in Washington and hadn’t really thought a whole lot about it until this past season. You heard more about it in the news, more things were coming out about it. So I started to really look at it, and started to kind of take hold and get a true understanding of what the word Redskin meant. Get a history lesson, in a sense. And I started feeling a little bit uneasy about it. Voiced my concern to General Manager Bruce Allen, and suggested that Mr. Snyder, the owner, should go and speak with some of the Native Americans, just to get their thoughts on it, to find out how they truly feel about the name.
Well, the players can only do so much. And they can make a stand and let their opinion be known. I think at this point, they need to take a serious look; [owner Daniel] Snyder needs to take a serious look at changing the name. Look, it’s offensive. If you look it up in the dictionary, it’s an offensive term. And I think if you get one segment of people that are offended by it, it warrants some looking at. So I know he said ‘I’ll never change it and you can make those capital letters, I’ll never change it.’ Well, Donald Sterling thought he’d never lose his franchise, too.
I definitely think the name should be changed; it’s 2014. We’re progressive and intellectual enough to realize something like that is offensive. And it’s offensive because a group of people that that moniker represents has said so.
[If] Native Americans feel like Redskins or the Chiefs or [another] name is offensive to them, then who are we to say to them ‘No, it’s not’?”
Monk added that a name change should be “seriously considered.”
Shane Battier of the Miami Heat also chimed in about the ad decrying the Redskins’ name that aired during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, saying:
If there are Native American tribes who find that term offensive, and they’ve voiced their expression of discontent for the name, I think there should be a move to change it. If everyone in the Native American world looked at ‘Redskins’ as a sign of respect, I would be OK with it, but if it is a slanderous and hurtful term for people, it needs to be changed.
Neither the Washington Redskins nor the NFL appear interested in changing the name. “We recognize that there are some that don’t agree with the name and we have listened and respected that,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters a few days prior to the Super Bowl. “But if you look at the numbers, including in Native American communities, in a Native American community poll, nine out of ten supported the name. Eight out of ten Americans in the general population would not like us to change the name.”