Less Than 30 Percent Say Redskins Should Change Their Name
Nearly half of respondents of a national poll conducted by Morning Consult are just fine with the name of NFL team The Washington Redskins. The football team, which has been for years accused of racism against Native Americans despite polls finding Native American majorities support the name, has been slated for change to placate a small group of online leftist agitators.
However, it turns out that far more Americans believe the name ought to remain than those who prefer a more culturally sensitive name. According to the poll, 49 percent of respondents believe the Redskins should keep their nickname, with only 29 percent in favor of the upcoming change and 22 percent unsure.
When broken down by generation, the nickname is less popular with Gen Z than with any others. Forty-five percent of Gen Z are in favor of changing the name, with only 23 percent supporting the nickname’s maintenance. Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers all see a larger percentage of their respective populations support keeping the name.
The desire to change drops to 31 percent for millennials, with 47 percent in favor of the name. Gen X decreases again, with only 27 percent wishing to rid the team of the name, compared to the 55 percent who support it. Only 24 percent of Boomers believe the name ought to be removed, with 56 percent who believe it should remain.
When looking at how the name’s popularity changes among racial lines, it becomes clear that white people predominately support the name, Black people believe it ought to be changed, although by fewer than half, and Hispanic people are torn.
Fifty-seven percent of white respondents think the team should keep the nickname, while only 24 percent argue for its removal. In contrast, 46 percent of black respondents believe the team name should change, with only 23 percent in favor of it remaining. Hispanic respondents are split right down the middle, with 38 percent supporting both keeping and changing the nickname.
Along with asking whether the team nickname should be changed, the poll explored how many respondents found the name offensive compared to other team mascots attacked as propagating ethnic or racial stereotypes.
The Redskins ranked the second most offensive name, with 30 percent of respondents finding the name and logo offensive. The only team to score higher was the Cleveland Indians and their mascot Chief Wahoo, who was deemed offensive by 33 percent of respondents.
The other potentially controversial mascots included: Chicago Blackhawks (25 percent), Florida State Seminoles (24 percent), Atlanta Braves (17 percent), Kansas City Chiefs (16 percent), Notre Dame Fighting Irish (16 percent), and the Edmonton Eskimos (16 percent).
This poll did not break out the data any Native American respondents, if there were any. It would be interesting to see what their opinion on the name and its potential change would be, as that is the group the change is purportedly protecting. Historically, Native Americans have been widely supportive of the team’s name.
A 2016 Washington Post poll of Native Americans showed that 90 percent of respondents were not bothered by the name, and 78 percent found the debate unimportant. Many respondents took it a step further, and declared they like the team’s name and find it supportive of Native Americans. The Washington Post results also fit a 2004 poll of Native Americans conducted by University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey, which also saw 90 percent of respondents supporting the name.
Paulina Enck is an intern at the Federalist and current student at Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service. Follow her on Twitter at @itspaulinaenck