Column: Washington’s NFL team must change name

Kunal Patel

The Washington Redskins, as we know them, may not exist for much longer. The campaign to force Washingon's football team to change its name may finally be gaining some steam. Native Americans took a big swing at the NFL by airing a 60-second commercial during game three of the NBA Finals in seven major cities across America.

The video, which aired in the DC area, was produced by the National Congress of American Indians. The commercials powerful message ended with “Native Americans call themselves many things, the one thing they don’t …” followed by silence and an image of the Washington Redskins logo. If this has not caught the attention of the NFL brass and specifically Redskins owner Dan Snyder, it's hard to imagine what will.

The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation in California said it paid a “significant amount” to put the commercial in primetime. The chairman brought up the notion that sports is already prone to an excessive amount of racism. His plan is to use this Redskins change as an example to reduce racism across all sports.

The Redskins name is clearly viewed as a racial slur by Native Americans and it is time Dan Snyder take notice of the increasing popularity of the “Change the Mascot” campaign. Snyder has repeatedly expressed that he will never change the name because it acts as a badge of honor that has been ingrained in the team's history for over 80 years. Snyder went as far as to hire lobbying firm, McGuireWoods Consulting, to help defend his stance.

At this point, Snyder and company need all the help they can get. Recently, Senate majority leader Harry Reid is leading a group of senators to push the franchise to change the name. The politicians sent a letter to Dan Snyder and also said the NFL needs to stop ignoring the name which is such a blatant racial slur toward American Indians. The outside pressure will eventually force Dan Snyder to make a difficult, but necessary, change to the prestigious franchise, and it may happen very soon.