« BACK TO TMZ TMZ

Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

Washington D.C. Mayor

'Redskins' Is RACIST

... It's Time for a Change

1/9/2013 12:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0109-vincent-grey-redskins-getty
It's damn time the Washington Redskins changed its racist name ... at least if the team ever plans to move inside D.C. city limits -- so says District mayor Vincent Gray.

Now that the Redskins are winning again, there's been a lot of talk about bringing the team back to D.C. -- instead of leaving them in nearby FedEx Field, located in Maryland.

But Mayor Gray has some conditions before the Redskins move a muscle -- claiming, “I think that if they get serious with the team coming back to Washington, there’s no doubt there’s going to have to be a discussion about [changing the team name]."

Gray added, “I think it has become a lightning rod, and I would love to be able to sit down with the team … and see if a change should be made. There’s a precedent for this, and I think there needs to be a dispassionate discussion about this, and do the right thing.”

FYI -- the federal government controls the land where a new Redskins stadium would be built in D.C. ... so it does have some say.

There's no question, the term "redskins" is flat-out racist ... but we still gotta ask ...

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!
314 COMMENTS

No Avatar
31.

Michell    

Everything is racist anymore...so sick of it! Worry about jobs and cleaning up your messes. This is a way to divert attention from real problems.

631 days ago
32.

Michell    

Next thing you know we won't be able sing Jesus loves the little children because it has red and yellow black and white in it.

631 days ago
33.

CAHummingbird    

He needs to get over himself and all the PC B$! For 80 years, the Redskins have been. Leave them ALONE!!!

631 days ago
34.

freedomforall    

reminds me of a story, Long time ago in New Orleans they used to have these things called Hackamores on the street. Some people called them Lawn Jockies. Well the ACLU demanded they be removed from the street because they were Racist. Well fast forward and low and behold the story of the Hackamore's came out how these poor slaves would stay in the hot sun for up to 12 hours a day holding the horses in town most of them dying on the spot. Then when the nobelness of them came out eveybody was suddenly proud of the heritage that these brought. But alas they were all destroyed melted down and so the heritage died with them. There is a lesson here.

631 days ago
35.

Lucky_130    

Chris Rock pointed that out years ago.

631 days ago
36.

Majestik    

BTW, I'm from Ontario, place called Windsor. There are streets, bars, and school teams named for Native Tribes. Is that RACIST? Come on, we have Mic Mac Park named for a Canadian Tribe, we have Ojibway Park, named a tribe, a street called Te***seh, a town called Te***seh after a great Native Indian warrior. We have Chippawa street, Chippawa Tavern. Good lord, what's next, changing the words of the National Anthem? (sarcasm intended on that last question)

631 days ago
37.

static    

DC is a crime ridden corrupt dump why would any business choose to move there?

631 days ago
38.

mememi    

HEY NEEDS TO WORRY ABOUT HIS CAMPAIGN!!!!

631 days ago
39.

BB not bb    

Does this mayor have alternate suggestions? Maybe he would like the team named after him. They could be called the Grays after all of the cloudy days in Washington. Maybe they could be called the penguins or the woodchucks or the daffodils.

631 days ago
40.

wonkers    

The facist politically correct Nazi's are out making up stories. You have to think like them; or else.

631 days ago
41.

SchoolTheRookies    

Oh please... im more concerned about rg3 and how hes going to carry his team with 2 knee surgeries in the last 2 1/2 years. Very sad.

631 days ago
42.

Chief Ron    

My wife is from Virginia and she suggested the name "Washington Rednecks". That would not offend anybody in that area right???

HTTR!!!!!

631 days ago
43.

Constance    

if that's racist then black and white are also racist terms.....

631 days ago
44.

paul a.    

The Washington Visible Minorities

631 days ago
45.

PCnoMore    

http://neddybee.blogspot.com/2005/04/redskins-and-war-paint.html

The image is of William "Lone Star" Dietz, whose mother was a full blooded Sioux Indian. Dietz was the first coach of the Redskins football team, and it was in his honor that the team was named "Redskins". He brought a number of Indian players with him to the team and they wore war paint and Indian bonnets at games.

There seems to be no etymological evidence that the word "redskin" originally meant anything other than "an aborigine with red skin". According to Take Our Word For It, the earliest recorded use of the word was found in a quotation from 1699: "Ye firste Meetinge House was solid mayde to withstande ye wicked onsaults of ye Red Skins."

Most people assume that the word described the natural skin color of the North American Indians. However, there exists do***entation that the name "redskin" was conferred upon the native inhabitants by the English Colonists because of the red body paint they wore in battle. Because the 1699 quotation would certainly be referring to Indian warriors, this seems to be the most likely explanation of the origin of "redskin"..

Some say the term is disparaging. The "Webster's Third New International Dictionary", Unabridged, 1976, gives "a North American Indian" and nothing more. The Oxford English says "redskin" is "generally benign". If the origin of the word had to do with painted warriors in battle, I find it suspect that it would have become an insult. Yet, beginning about 1967, dictionaries began to describe it as "usually offensive".

There are other early instances in history when the native Americans were described as "Red Indians" by the British. This too seems quite innocent, as it was necessary to differentiate them from the East Indians. In "The History of Our Country" by Edward S. Ellis, copyright 1918, volume 1, page 12, the author writes in awe of the American Indians of the Colonial period.

"General Cook has seen Apache scouts trot fifteen hundred feet up the side of a mountain, without showing any increase of respiration or sign of fatigue. The Indians trained their bodies from infancy to repress all expression of pain, even when suffering the tortures of death. They underwent hunger, thirst and fatigue without a murmur. ... they were merciless in war, and inflicted frightful cruelties upon their prisoners."

The author continues speaking of the admirable traits of the native people, "The exploits of some of the red men in this respect seem incredible."

How did it come to be that the football team in Washington D.C. is named "The Redskins"? Marc Fisher, Metro Columnist for the Washington Post, 2002, explains saying that the official story is that when the Boston Braves football team left Braves Field to play at Fenway Park in 1933, the owner needed to find a new name for his squad.

He chose Redskins in honor of Lone Star Dietz, the team's coach and an Indian who often wore an eagle feather headdress, beaded deerskin jacket and buckskin moccasins. Dietz brought four to six -- accounts vary -- Indian players with him to Boston from the Haskell Indian School in Kansas, where he had coached for four years.

Another version has the team being named for the white men who dressed up as Indians to stage the Boston Tea Party at the start of the American Revolution. Yet another genesis story says the name stems from the colored clay that Plains Indians used to paint themselves for tribal ceremonies.

Whichever version is right, "the reality is more benign than people on both sides of the fence are attributing to it," says sports historian and museum consultant Frank Ceresi. "The name was meant very, very positively."

The genesis may always remain murky ... . But it is clear that the Boston Redskins, who moved to Washington in 1937, sought to capitalize on their Indian players and coach: The team played wearing red war paint. And Indian players from the time considered the name and trappings an honor.

From Boston Redskins 1932-1936:

"1933: Now led by Lone Star Dietz, a Native American Coach, the team moves to Fenway Park. With the move the team also undergoes a name change becoming the Boston Redskins. The Redskins would alternate wins and losses all season and would finish with a 5-5-2 record."

It is quite unfortunate that so many people have accepted the concocted story that the word "redskin" comes from the white man paying bounties for Indian scalps. Some versions of this hoax are ridiculous, such as one published in The Virginian-Pilot (N.C. school districts rethinking use of Indian mascots, By CATHERINE KOZAK, March 29, 2003), which says

"The word Redskin is considered derogatory. The term comes from centuries ago when a bounty was placed on Indian people. Trappers would bring in Indian scalps along with the skins of animals -- bearskin, deerskin, redskin. For Indians, it is a reminder of their genocide".

It strains credulity that fur traders would be collecting scalps of Indians. Here is another blatantly false version by a Spokane Indian woman, Dr. Charlene Teeters.

"Redskin was the shorthand name for a body part like a scalp or hands, of Native American people who were slaughtered to collect bounty payments. The symbol used to mark the locations where bounty hunters could collect payments was the decapitated head of a Native American, not unlike those symbols often used by sports teams."

The term "redskin" has been in use since at least as early as 1699. The British government did not offer bounties for scalps until more than fifty years later, during the French and Indian War. For our erudition, some soul has created a list of all the known slur words in the English language, so if you want to be safe in your speech and writing, go here. For more information about William Lone Star Dietz including a picture of him in Indian dress, go here.

631 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web