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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Why I Ditched the D.C. Football Team and Became a Ravens Fan

by Josh Marks (writer), Washington, D.C., December 02, 2013

Credit: The Hockey Stop blog
Racist Redskins versus Ravens

Wouldn't you rather be associated with a name inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven" than a name coined by a rabid racist like George Preston Marshall?

When Washington football team owner Daniel Snyder was quoted in USA Today as saying he would NEVER change the name of the franchise that is a dictionary-defined racial slur, I posted on my Facebook page that I would NEVER root for my hometown team until the racist name changes and that until then I would become a Baltimore Ravens fan.

So I gave up the burgundy and gold for the purple and black. RG3 for Flacco. A soulless suburban stadium in Landover for the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium in downtown Baltimore. Dysfunction for class. Perpetual losing for a Super Bowl ring. And most importantly, an awful name and logo for a name and logo that everyone can cheer for.

One of the reasons I chose the Ravens to root for is that I consider Baltimore a part of the Washington area -- the Washington-Baltimore region. Growing up in Northern Virginia, I cheered on the Orioles. I would head north on 95 or take the train up to Charm City and watch baseball games at Memorial Stadium and then Camden Yards. I was living in Southern California in 2005 when the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals and I instantly became a fan. But I never gave up my American League allegiance to the O's with the Nats being my National League team.

So it should be natural for a Washingtonian to root for the Ravens as a local team to be proud of instead of being ashamed and embarrassed that a football team with a racial slur name represents the nation's capital.

It should also be noted that you don't have to be Native American to be offended by the name. All races and ethnicities should be appalled that the R word is still accepted in 2013. I'm not Native American. I am Jewish-American however so am extra sensitive to discriminatory language being used against a persecuted minority given our history. Also, that Snyder is Jewish as well makes his intransigence and insensitivity even worse.

Since it has become painfully clear that the Washington football team organization from Snyder on down and the majority of fans have no intention to budge even an inch on the name, I have found the best protest is not necessarily to keep posting to social media about the latest developments on the name controversy -- although that is important as it keeps the issue on the radar when the NFL, the team and the fans would like nothing more than for the issue to go away -- but to proudly wear my Ravens hat and t-shirt everywhere I go in the D.C. area and not talk about the D.C. football team unless it has to do with changing the name.

The more Snyder and the team are marginalized, the more the movement will grow to change the name. The losing season this year has helped increase the negativity surrounding the team, which is important because if the losing continues and chorus for a name change grows louder, some fans will start to consider a name change as part of a fresh start for the organization to remove the stink of losing.

For me, it is not just enough to make institutions "Redskin free zones" as two local rabbis have called for their schools and synagogues to be and which a D.C. public school -- Wilson high school -- is considering banning R word apparel. For me, I take it a step further by not only shaming anyone still wearing the racist name and logo by going on the offense and displaying my Baltimore Ravens gear.

After all, wouldn't you rather be associated with a name inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven" than a name coined by a rabid racist like George Preston Marshall that was at one time used to describe the bloody scalps of dead indigenous women and children?



About the Writer

Josh Marks is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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12 comments on Why I Ditched the D.C. Football Team and Became a Ravens Fan

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By Randy Mitchell on December 04, 2013 at 12:04 pm

The Washington Redskins have carried this name since moving into the DC area in 1937 and haven't ever had any problems till America elected its first Socialist President, who, along with his supporters, seem to enjoy playing the tired old race card every chance they get.

Josh, several polls have been conducted thru the years in regards to using the Redkins name. In 2013, a USA Today poll found that 79% of Americans had no problem with the name. In 2004, a poll of Native Americans in 48 States found 91% saying the name was acceptable. In 2002, a Sports Illustrated poll found 75% of Americans saw no objection to the name. My source for these figures is Wikipedia if you'd like to verify them.

The Redskins are the 3rd most valuable NFL franchise, and they didn't get that way by offending a huge % of people.

If it makes you feel better to change your personal fanbase, go for it. But all of this political correctness and over sensitivity to racism these days is making my head hurt.

I'm sure you'll disagree with my comments, but some balance in the conversation was needed here.

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By Josh Marks on December 04, 2013 at 12:16 pm

That's why I left the team, because I know the majority of fans, management and ownership have the same boneheaded view you do Randy. Perhaps they don't know that at one time the R word was used to describe the bloody scalps of dead indigenious men, women and children who were hunted down for bounties. If you don't believe me, read this newspaper clipping. According to a multitude of Native Historians and historical accounts, the term "Redskin" denotes money paid toward the eradication of Native Americans. An example is provided by Dallas Goldtooth, who posted an 1863 newspaper clipping on his Facebook page that advertised a reward for dead Indians as ‘$200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory.’ In his post, Goldtooth wrote, “It was only five generations ago that a white man could get money for one of my grandfather’s scalps.”

Link: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/11/13/dakota-man-exposes-vile-history-redskins-facebook-152241

This isn't about being politically correct Randy. It's about doing the right thing.

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By Randy Mitchell on December 04, 2013 at 01:14 pm

You're a prime example of using the events of ancient history as a crutch for the present. Its this victim mentality which keeps people moving forward. 1863 was a long time ago, as was slavery and other crimes against certain ethnic/religious groups. It's time to get over it and move forward. After all it's 2013, not 1913 or even 1813.

I'm Irish, nearly full-blooded, and I don't get bent out of shape after all the times I've been called, Mick, Paddy, Bog, Carrott Top, or White N#@$%r. I just laugh it off and move on, like you should. If the Dallas Cowboys were renamed the Dallas Mickey's I could care less. Because I'm proud of my heritage and don't make a federal case out of those who make fun of it.

Each of us are born into something, one group is no better than the other.

Good luck with your cause, but most are growing tired of hearing it.

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By Josh Marks on December 04, 2013 at 01:22 pm

Actually people are getting tired of the racist name. A racist name doesn't change over time. It was racist then and it is racist now and will always be racist. And there is a bigger issue of appropriating Native American names and mascots for our pleasure and enjoyment at sporting events and making millions of dollars off this practice of stereotyping all First Nations people as warrior type people. What it does is create the percpetion that Native Americans are like Vikings or Spartans -- an extinct people when in fact there are hundreds of diverse tribes that still exist today that have many languages and customs and religious practices and yet because of teams like the R words our view of them is by a team named after skin color.

This country committed cultural and physical genocide against First Nations people and we have no right to name sports teams after them.

We are going to fight for the name change until it happens so get used to it Randy.

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By Randy Mitchell on December 04, 2013 at 03:28 pm

Good luck with that...

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By riginal on December 04, 2013 at 11:24 pm

i agree with both of you guys 100% is that possible? And i'm not a fence dweller. Randy you are correct in your assumption "get over it!" and Josh i sympathize with your view point.But guys i believe that no matter how far you go back in history the same freaking mistakes under a more modernistic approach in time still carries the same rabid scabs festering waitng to be opened by a new generation of young and smattering of old learned, who have been taught of 'this or that' by well- meaning peers perhaps or not directing young minds with their signs 'interpretation' of what is right? Why on earth even delve into history at all then if nothing of purpose emerges or more importantly heeded and learned from? Are people more cautious of investment since the ungreat Depression? Not in my book because greed is within most of us and for those that aint infected blessed are the meek.More likely though blasted are the meek? Depending upon i guess your status,religion,upbringing. You can twist any situation to suit your particular wants and ambitions but as history nods its knowing frustrated head not much appears to be gleaned?Both of you are fine pedantic writers and bring forth salient points and i'd love to sit between you two in a quiet pub in Ireland (is there such a thing) and start a free- for- all by asking a simple question."Does anyone here think they know it all? Nup? well then shut up...i call a spud a spud whether it's got a redskin brown or white...mash them all together and the overall taste is that of potatoe is it not?" Then i would shout everyone a drink of history from intensive care...because people don't seem to be able to see the future for what it is...don't think...too hard...be merry. I rest my spud 'so to speak'... i've never heard one speak but then i never listen too hard,prefer to read between the loins...i'm long sighted with a short view of history's long johns...cheers guys, does arguing over history bring things to a boil or does the undercurrent of dissention/heated debate, just simmer through the ages? More importantly, does anybody care to offer a handshake/band- aid of peace?

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By Randy Mitchell on December 05, 2013 at 09:52 am

Riginal, I appreciate your efforts at trying to bring some balance to the conversation. Unfortunately, all over America, this same type of debate is happening everywhere. There is a HUGE political divide among our people and both sides have dug in for the long haul, especially when we passionately believe in our viewpoints.

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By riginal on December 07, 2013 at 02:48 am

Randy 'digging in' and sitting in a 'dugout' of angst seems most Nelson Mandela unlike to me. If you'll allow his ingress into the conversation.He wasn't perfect but heaps closer than those who purport to be.Doubt that you'll ever have a leader as such but i think his life teachings could well be heeded around the world. God rest his soul. Rather than "bring some balance" i was merely pointing out the frustration two opposing views have even between countries that in a majority of 'warlike' assumptions usually is the catalyst for same. Our Aboriginal people were given a belated "sorry" over their treatment from the foreigners who just trampled in and over. But it was something. Although feelings run deep as it does as you say in your country i would have thought digging in as opposed to perhaps a tad of "balance" are at opposite ends of the scale. Positivity of meeting partial ways not A START? Could a vote on name change or partial thereof which seems to be a unresolved thorn and 'important' to some as indeed you must have 'important' beliefs which are dear to you- also be in the offing? Liked your latest post about government but once again people 'dig in.' Dig out with constructive process. Don't worry Australia/America are anout on par as leaders go but i can't see any government in the world today whereupon the opposition gets in and there's an immediate WONDERFUL better life for the average citizen. Bearing in mind the 'common' person usually remains so. I'm no expert on anything, but how many so-called 'experts' show compassion or a willingness to get on with it and not try to score political 'dig in' which in turn will never achieve balance. We just voted in a Prime (suspect?) Minister...different handle but basically same pot. Wish you and Josh a great xmas and family non-argumental time,'bury the hatchet' (no pun intended). Also hope your business continues to flourish and may God smack the bottom of someone who thinks THEY are the chosen one and have the answer to everything...OUCH...anybody else feel the pain? cheers...nothing wrong with opposing views if you're not too pedantically short-sighted methinks.

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By Randy Mitchell on December 07, 2013 at 10:01 am

Riginal, thanks again for your comments here. If Obama were more like Mandela our country wouldn't be having the political and social divide like it is today. And it's the worst I've seen it in my lifetime. This isn't about something as silly as what an NFL team is named, it's about the significant, fundamental differences that liberals and conservatives are having and it runs deep. I'm a compromising guy by nature, but the harsh, destructive forces trying to fundamentally change the greatness of America is something worth standing against.

I hope you have a great Christmas yourself.

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By Josh Marks on December 07, 2013 at 02:06 pm

Appreciate the comments gents. This isn't about President Obama or the racist name of Washington's football team. Randy is correct to identify the deep divide in this country -- the great divide since just before the Civil War. That divide mostly comes from the extreme income inequality that has ravaged the middle class for 30 plus years. When we provide Americans with economic security -- a good job, good health care, good pension, good home, good wage -- it will make it easier to deal with the other issues that divide us. Watch the documentary "Inequality for All" by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

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By Josh Marks on December 07, 2013 at 02:08 pm

And Merry Christmas to both you. I celebrate Chanukah.

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By riginal on December 07, 2013 at 03:14 pm

i smell goodwill...mmm how sweet it is...:>)))))))))))))))))))))))

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