With the Redskins likely changing their nickname, people are wrongfully calling for the Chiefs to do the same.
The battle to change the Washington Redskins name has been ongoing for decades. The debate now has some new steam behind it due to the tragic death of George Floyd. Floyd’s death has brought racial issues and stereotypical names to the forefront of society, including the sports industry. Last week, the Redskins announced plans to review the team’s name and will most likely end up changing it by the start of the football season. With this new development, there will most certainly be some pressure to change the name of the Kansas City Chiefs. It is understandable for people to view the Redskins as offensive, but the word Chief should not be viewed that way.
First of all, The Chiefs were not even given that name due to any Native American tribe or organization. The name came when Lamar Hunt moved the team from Dallas to Kansas City. According to an article written by Rachel Coltz of Arrowhead Live, former Kansas City mayor Harold Roe Bartle insisted for the Dallas Texans to move to KC, and convinced the owner Lamar Hunt to name the team after Bartle’s nickname, “The Chief.” Bartle was given that nickname through his involvement as a Scout Executive for the Boy Scout Council in St. Joeseph and Kansas City.
Secondly, the term Chief is a noun that means, the head or leader of an organized body of people; the person highest in authority. There are many types of Chiefs: police chief, chief of staff, commander in chief. Do we have to change those names too? There is an actual motorcycle brand named Indian Chief. Do we have to stop making those? Did you know there is a website called chief.com that focuses on connecting and supporting women leaders in the workplace? Is their site offensive? Should we boycott their cause?
The point is that even though there is a big movement to correct every single racial injustice, there has to be a line drawn in the sand somewhere. If we keep going, we will find something offensive in every name, logo, or public monument. And then we’ll have nothing. Even if the team is named with Indian Chiefs in mind, does that make it offensive? A chief is a leader of a tribe and football players are leaders on the field. It is an honorable name that the players should be proud to have.
The term Redskins is a racial slur and should be changed. It is offensive just like the Cleveland Indian mascot Chief Wahoo is as well. But those names and logos promote prejudice towards Native Americans. The term Chiefs is not prejudiced. It is honorable. It is not meant to poke fun at any Native American or Native American tribe. That is where people need to take a step back and ask themselves, is this really offensive or are we just making this a big deal because that is the popular stance right now? My answer: it’s not offensive, keep it the way it is.
Besides, my dog’s name is Chief, and I don’t want to change it.