|The Washington Redskins aren't shying away from the controversy over their nickname. (Getty Images)|
It's a new day with Washington's professional football team. The franchise finally has a quarterback, management that knows what it's doing and an owner who stays the hell out of the way. Mostly.
The optimism around the team hasn't been this high since Joe Gibbs won his first Super Bowl.
Everything is moving forward. The flowers are blooming, the future is bright and the team still has a racist nickname. Oh, wait.
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As the franchise clearly takes a turn for the better and is now run by grownups, rejoining the big boys of the NFL, now would be the perfect time for the Washington Redskins to dump the ugly, stereotypical nickname that embarrasses them, their city and their league.
Instead, the team is doubling down on the nickname, publishing several remarkably tone-deaf pieces of propaganda on its website.
The most recent, released Wednesday, featured an interview with an official from the McLoud Redskins High School in Pottawatomie County, Okla., saying how proud American Indian students were of the nickname. This was the second such piece to appear on the Washington website.
It doesn't seem to matter to Washington officials that the most recent poll increasingly shows mass hatred of the name by American Indians. Indian Country Today, the largest Native American magazine, found that 81 percent of respondents found such images disparaging to Native Americans and 75 percent said the imagery violated anti-discrimination laws.
But beyond the polls comes a simple point: What's the right thing to do?
We've become so complacent with this ugly, racial name that it has almost become comfortable, like old leather.
As someone who grew up as a Washington fan and is also part American Indian, I've found the nickname to always be a dumb and offensive one. More important, I've always been perplexed by why the team, especially recently, has stuck with the nickname. There is nothing sacred about this stupid nickname. The Washington Bullets changed their nickname out of sensitivities to the high numbers of murders happening in the city at the time. That organization demonstrated intelligence and thoughtfulness. So can the football team.
We can have this debate repeatedly. But for a franchise that is allegedly so smart at marketing, why not take advantage of this time of good feelings and excitement to change the nickname to something a little less bigoted, say, the Washington Universe, since we all come from stardust. (That nickname made me throw up in my mouth a little, but you get the point.)
Start anew. Start fresh. Adapt. Show compassion. Stop with the propaganda. Do what's right.
It's time, Washington. It's time.