Among other things, the name "Redskins" has been synonymous with the city of Washington since the team relocated from Boston in 1937. That, however, does not mean that the moniker, considered a racial epithet for Native Americans, has had full-fledged support.
The controversy has traveled all the way to the Supreme Court, but to this day, the Redskins remain. Despite that, there are those who are trying their best to eradicate not just the Redskins name, but all racially insensitive Native Americans monikers (for example, the University of North Dakota, formerly the home of the Fighting Sioux, has dropped the nickname amid a lengthy battle and will appear at the NCAA Division I men's hockey tournament with no nickname at all; the NCAA threatened forfeiture of postseason games if the school did not comply).
This past NFL season I created a fantasy football team called the Whiteskins. It was intended as a satirical approach to drawing attention to the offensive nature of stereotypical American Indian sports mascots and the need to change them.
The “team” has since grown into a project in which I have committed to challenging the use of culturally offensive mascots by spreading our message via the sale of Whiteskins merchandise. More importantly, the proceeds from these sales are donated to organizations working for the benefit of Native American communities, with a focus on encouraging sports participation among Native youth.
I don’t want the Whiteskins’ message to just be negative -- “You shouldn’t do that” or “Oh, how dare you” -- so I have already begun preparing proposed logos, names, and mascot changes for other professional sports teams that currently use Native American imagery names and imagery in their branding and team culture.
This is an interesting idea, one that "doesn’t just make a good point -- it tries to do something about it instead of just huffing and puffing," according to Uni-Watch proprietor Paul Lukas. Whether it can make a difference, however, remains to be seen. Precedent proves otherwise.
Adam Vingan is co-founder and editor of Kings Of Leonsis, a Caps-centric blog, and is the Capitals Editor for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_KOL and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.