The Instigator
Con (against)
2 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
9 Points

Should Washington's Football Team (The Redskins) Change Its Name?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/31/2014 Category: Sports
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 957 times Debate No: 55806
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




First round is for acceptance!


I accept, with the understanding that I am taking the position that the name of the Washington NFL team should be changed.

Good luck, and I look forward to reading your arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Pro for accepting the challenge!
Round 2 will be opening statements and arguments. Pro shall not debate anything said by con so the argument counts are equal.
Round 3 will be offensive and defensive arguments by both side.
Round 4 will be offensive and defensive arguments but neither side can bring up any new arguments or start debating a new argument that was not started in round 3.
Let us begin!
The Washington's Football team "The Redskins" should not have to change its name. The main reason is that it would cause the NFL and the Redskins team itself a massive amount of money. No one has the right to force the team to change the name that has been in place for about 80 years. The Washington Wellpinit high school (that is 91.2 percent Indian) takes no offense to the name. In fact, the students there wear Redskins jerseys and other various paraphernalia that is sold by the NBA. They take pride in it. The same thing goes for the Oklahoma Kingston high school. Yet another high school, Red Mesa in Arizona that is 99.3 percent Native American.
Tim Ames, the superintendent of the school the Wellpinit is apart of, says that Redskins is not even an insult to the kids that he supervises. Names like "Wagon Burners" and "Sand N*****s" are insults and they do not like them. But Redskins is a name they take PRIDE in. It should not be changed.
The biggest problem with this is that the majority of the Native Americans aren't even offended. The word Oklahoma itself is Choctaw for red people. Will that need to be changed as well? An English teacher from one of the schools above says that they are actually AFRAID of losing the name and they feel that the people that want it changed are just drawing attention to themselves. Most of the people that are wanting the name changed are people of the Caucasian or white ethnicity.
I guess it may be too late for the movement to change the name to be stopped because White America has spoken. They have said, "If you aren't gonna be offended about this, then we will be offended for you!" which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
In conclusion, the biggest reason why the name 'Redskins' shouldn't be changed is because that a ton of names in our culture reference a group of people. My atheist friend thinks that the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Angels names are offensive. Should we have to change those to? Another friend of mine, who is religious, believes that the name 'Wizards' should not be allowed because they believe it promotes PAGANISM! Should we listen to these people?
Society has become extremely oversensitive and attention seeking and all this is absolutely unnecessary.


Thank you Pro, and I am excited to be debating this topic. Hopefully we will have a lively, informative, and interesting debate.

I would like to first quibble with the idea that Con can, somehow, create rules in the second round of a debate. These were not in the initial guidelines for acceptance, as they should have been, and the creator of a debate does not wield the power to change the rules of the debate throughout disparate rounds as he pleases. However, to foster a positive debate, I will follow the groundrules offered by Con; I expect no new rules in the round.

I would also like to clarify my position; I am not arguing that the Washington NFL franchise should be forced to change its name. I am simply defending the idea that, normatively, the name ought be changed. This is distinct from the position Con seems to think I am defending.

I. "Redskin" is a racial slur

This debate is going to be somewhat of a one-trick pony. If I can demonstrate that the usage of the term "Redskin" in this context is offensive, then I win the round. I will do this through an investigation of the origins and usages of the term "Redskin," and its current context in the United States today.

The origins of the term "redskin" have been up for some debate; most scholars agree that the term was coined to generalize Native Americans by European settlers for usage in negotiations, etc. However, over the years, the usage of the term has changed, as many terms often to, to take a particularly pejorative and offensive conotation [2] [3]. In fact, entire tribes of Native Americans have created petitions to change the name by nature of its offensive nature [4]. Moreover, in depth investigations have found that, linguistically, the term is used condescendingly and offensively, perhaps since its inception [5].

Note the note at the top of the dictionary definition of "redskin": usually offensive [1]. And, note that the the team was named not to honor a nebulous Native American ancestry, but simply to avoid confusion with the Boston Braves that were operating in Boston at the same time as the original Redskins [6].

With all of this evidence in mind, the idea that the term is not used outside the Native American community as a slur is nonsense; this demeaning and dehumanizing nature of the word causes deep pain and trauma to certain groups. Many Native Americans suffer tangibly at their name being used in such an offensive manner in a context that makes it mainstream. Such trauma, pain, and stigma is certainly grounds for the changing of a team name; no anecdotal claims or surveys will change this.

Thank you, and I look forward to reading Con's future argumentation.


Debate Round No. 2


Thank you pro for the well worded argument.
First of all, the term redskins is not even offensive. The name was created to describe how the Native American peoples appeared. That is just how the skin appeared to people. It is equivalent to the term 'black'. As in, the Black people of America are a strong resemblance of equality, or something like that. In a recent poll 90% of the Native American people don't find any offense whatsoever to the term. (
This means that 10% of the race take offense. 10% of the population have used marijuana in the past year. Should calling people 'potheads' now be extremely offensive? No! 10% of the population are left-handed. Should calling them 'lefties' now be extremely offensive? No! 1 out of 10 people live on an island. Should calling them 'islanders' be extremely offensive? No!

In conclusion, all the term was used for before the team was made was what they were described as looking like.


Thank you. I would like to begin by extending all of my previous argumentation, which goes entirely untouched by Con. In fact, in spite of all of my source material substantiating the idea that the term "Redskin" is indeed offensive and derogatory, Con simply cites a CBS News article that, if read closely, clearly supports my side of the argument.

Note that Con's source material says the following:
- " The term is used affectionately by some natives, similar to the way the N-word is used by some African-Americans"
This gives creedence to the idea argued for in my source material which states that slurs are seen as acceptable when used by the group being oppressed, but not by those outside. Just imagine how offensive a football team named the word mentioned above would be.

- "Of course, it is one thing for one ‘skin to call another ‘skin a ‘skin, but it has entirely different meaning when a non-Indian uses it"

- "Those without such connections cannot represent native opinion..."
The credentials of those in the survey were completely unquestioned.

- "Indian support for the name “is really a classic case of internalized oppression...But she notes that the many organizations supporting her lawsuit include the Cherokee, Comanche, Oneida and Seminole tribes, as well as the National Congress of American Indians, the largest intertribal organization, which represents more than 250 groups with a combined enrollment of 1.2 million."
Well, that is a fairly sizeable opposition bloc claiming that the name is offensive.

- "Marshall, however, had a reputation as a racist. He was the last NFL owner who refused to sign black players — the federal government forced him to integrate in 1962 by threatening to cancel the lease on his stadium. When he died in 1969, his will created a Redskins Foundation but stipulated that it never support “the principle of racial integration in any form.”"
This fact clearly betrays the idea that the name was intended respectfully.

Con then goes on to make ridiculous analogies between "Redskin" and such terms as "pothead" and "lefties," which clearly do not have the historical stigma of oppression that the former. Con, essentially, is appealing to the idea that, "Well, only a minority are offended, so who cares?" The fact that, even granting validity of the survey, that a large percentage of Native Americans, in addition to the great plurality of Native American organizations, find the term offensive is cause enough to change the name.

Once again, Con has offered no counters to my argumentation, has provided no offensive, and only defensive, argumentation, and even Con's own source material betrays Con's side. Anything else is merely assertion and begging the question.

Thank you, and I look forward to future arguments.
Debate Round No. 3


MastrDebator forfeited this round.


Extend my arguments, Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by tiggerena2319 2 years ago
This name the red skins is offensive to Native Americans
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.
Vote Placed by voxprojectus 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: So it hurts me to go with Pro on this one, and I remain unconvinced by his arguments, but, well, he made some that were worth discussion and went totally unnadressed by Con. Sory MD.