Controversy over ethnic sports names boiling

Adam Jumba, Layout Editor

The Washington Redskins have been in the middle of a battle between people who are against the racial discrimination of certain groups, mainly Native Americans, and people who believe that having an ethnic sports team is a sign of pride, tradition, and even commemoration.


Of the 122 major sports teams (between NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB), a total of 13 have ethnic names. Of those 13, six are directly related to Native Americans. This includes the Chicago Blackhawks, the Washington Redskins, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Golden State Warriors, the Atlanta Braves, and the Cleveland Indians. Across the nation, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of high-school and minor-league teams who have put out the names of “Chiefs”, “Indians,” etc.

Our logo here at North Hills

Here at North Hills, the Indian team name is associated with the school as a community. People at North Hills, or any place in the nation, don’t make fun of Native Americans by using them as a mascot. Dr. Dietrich, the Athletic Director at North Hills, states that “[The Indian name] respects all cultures, people, and races, even though it only relates to one.”


At North Hills and other areas around the U.S. that use the Indian name, the word “Indian” represents more than a group of people. It represents honor, pride, tradition, and everything that is included in the battle to maintain such privileges of being united.


Another reason why an ethnic team name might be brought to an area is because it opens up the door to many traditions that could be associated with that team. For instance, calling a team “the Heat” doesn’t really bring too many opportunities for unique traditions besides many waving your hand in front of your face as if you really hot. With an Indian name, fans can make chants, dress like Indians, use paint on themselves, and so much more.


People may still argue that because Native Americans are upset with the Redskins’ name, it should be changed. “Redskin” is a lot different than “Indian.” People would probably be upset if a team name was “the White skins” or “the Black skins.” “If a team name is insulting, whether intentionally or not, it should be at least questioned to changed,” says Dr. Dietrich.


Furthermore, the Native Americans wouldn’t be the only people affected. The New York Knicks’ name is actually short for “Knickerbockers,” a common insult-name towards Dutch people in Colonial times. The Syracuse Orange name is also a name regarding the Dutch.


There are good arguments for both sides over whether ethnic team names should be in place. Most people would probably agree that ethnic names aren’t created to insult a certain people and that Native American team names aren’t a way of boasting the fact that we all defeated them. You’re not going to see Vietnam name a soccer team as the “Hanoi Yankees” simply because no one wants to be a fan of something they aren’t. People want to be fans of something that represents what a team brings to an area, just as the Indian name brings pride and tradition to North Hills. “The Indian name is a part of North Hills’ legacy and shouldn’t be changed,” adds Dr. Dietrich.