(PatriotWise.com)- The Washington Football Team has been taking progressive action to erase any reference to Native Americans.
Last year, the team changed its team name, which used to be the Washington Redskins, amid calls from activist groups to change the name because of its racist connotations. The team did that, although it hasn’t picked a permanent replacement name yet, going only by Washington Football Team.
Now, the team is taking it a step further, and prohibiting fans from doing something they’ve done for years.
Ahead of the 2021 National Football League season, which begins next month, the Washington Football Team announced that fans wouldn’t be allowed to enter the stadium if they were wearing headdresses inspired by Native Americans or if they had Native American face paint.
Dressing like that had been a tradition that fans had done for years, since the team used to be called the Redskins.
In a statement released Wednesday, the team said:
“We are excited to welcome everyone back wearing their Burgundy & Gold. However, Native American inspired ceremonial headdresses or face paint may no longer be worn into the stadium.”
Before the 2020 season, the Washington Football Team finally caved to pressure from corporate sponsors and Native American rights groups, who had long said that the team name was an ethnic slur.
That convinced the team to change its name, as well as remove all branding referencing the Redskins from the stadium, merchandise and digital properties.
Jason Wright, the president of the team, recently wrote a blog post that said:
“Though I wasn’t here for the rescinding of the name, I believe it was done with faith that the connective ties of this fan base run deep and that the deeply loved traditions and positive aspects of our identity can be preserved and even enhanced under a new name that does not offend any member of our community.”
The removal of the Redskins name was celebrated by civil rights groups around the country. Now, they are celebrating even more following the ban of the Native American garb for fans in the stadium.
Fawn Sharp, the president of the National Congress of American Indians, released a statement following the decision that said:
“Today’s announcement by the Washington Football Team is welcome news, but long overdue, as Native people have suffered the indignity and trauma of these dehumanizing fan rituals for decades.
“NCAI will not rest until all professional, collegiate and K-12 school teams retire their Native ‘themed’ mascots — and the fan rituals that go with them — to the dustbin of history where they belong.”
The Washington Football Team isn’t the only professional franchise to change its name recently. The Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball will officially change their name to the Cleveland Guardians for the 2022 season.
Still, there are some teams that still go by Native American names.
The sports teams of Florida State University, for example, are known as the Seminoles. Before football games, a person dressed in Native American garb rides a horse and plants a stake in the middle of the field.
The Atlanta Braves of MLB also are a reference to Native Americans, and fans there do the “tomahawk chop” to pump up the team during games.