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Some Thoughts on the WaPo’s ‘Redskins’ Poll

On Friday I said that at some point this week I’d be sharing my thoughts about The Washington Post’s “Redskins” poll results. Today is that day.

Before we dive in, let me remind everyone where I’ve stood on all this. While I’ve supported the movement to eliminate “Redskins” as a team name, that’s just one component of my larger concern about the use of Native American imagery in sports. “Redskins” and Chief Wahoo have been the low-hanging fruit for this movement, but I’ve also been opposed to the Braves’ tomahawk imagery, the Chiefs’ arrowhead imagery, and so on.

In addition, I’ve generally been in favor of a permission-based model. I’m fine with Florida State calling its teams the Seminoles, for example, because the Seminole tribe has given its permission for them to do so (and ditto for the Utah and the Utes, and CMU and the Chippewas). My reason for favoring the permission-based model is simple: I think Native imagery belongs to Natives and shouldn’t be used by non-Natives to sell stuff — not because the imagery is “offensive,” but because one of the first things we learn as children is that we shouldn’t use something that doesn’t belong to us.

With all of that in mind, here are some of my thoughts on the poll results. I apologize for the length — there was a lot to process here. For the sake of convenience, I’m going to occasionally use the terms “name-changers” (for people who have advocated changing the ’Skins name) and “name-keepers” (for those who’ve wanted the name retained). (Continue reading)

What's Your Sign(ature) - San Diego Padres

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By Phil Hecken

We continue today with the “What’s Your Sign(ature)” series, this time taking a look at the San Diego Padres. If you missed the previous entries in the series, you can see them at the following links: Indians, Pirates, Astros, Mets and Rays.

Can a one year only uniform actually qualify as a team’s signature outfit? That’s a tough call — but when that one year uniform leads to minor league teams, colleges and even another pro MLB team copying it…it does merit consideration. What about all the other Padres unis over the years (and they’ve had a LOT)? Does one of those sets stand out as a “signature” uni? (Continue reading)

DIY Helmets and a WFL History Lesson

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By Phil Hecken

I’m joined today by a longtime Uni Watch favorite, Leo Strawn, Jr., who has graced these pages with many great things, including some terrific DIY projects (although he may be better known these days as the guy who gets a lot of “Too Good For The Ticker” entries). Not today, though — today Leo gets the lede, as he’s here with … (Continue reading)

WaPo Poll: Most Native Americans Okay with ‘Redskins’

Big ’Skins Watch news yesterday, as The Washington Post, whose editorial board has been a longtime supporter of the “change the name” movement, rolled out the results of a new nationwide poll showing that an overwhelming majority of Native Americans have no problem with “Redskins” as a team name.

As you might expect, I received a lot of emails and tweets yesterday asking what I think of the poll results. As you might also expect, I do indeed have quite a few thoughts on the matter, which I’d like to share. Unfortunately, I was busy yesterday with ESPN work and some other stuff, and then I had to attend a friend’s birthday party in the evening, and today I’m going out to Long Island to see my mom, so I simply haven’t had time to address this. But I’ll get to it next week, promise.

In the meantime, I strongly, strongly suggest that anyone interested in this issue take some time to digest the Post’s entire package, which consists of four components. I read them myself in the following order, and I recommend that you do the same (note that the Post has a 10-article-per-month limit for non-subscribers; if you max out, however, you can keep getting access to 10 additional articles by switching to another browser, and then another, etc.): (Continue reading)