(Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)
Theismann, left, with Snyder

Former Washington QB Joe Theismann Says Redskins Name Honors Natives

June 19, 2013

Former Washington Redskins Quarterback Joe Theismann, who earned an NFL MVP trophy and led the Skins to the 1983 Super Bowl title, has now shared his view on the polarizing nickname of Dan Snyder's franchise.

The NFL Network analyst who was in South Dakota last week to lead a football camp spoke with the Argus Leader about all things football in an interview, during which he stated that by wearing the D.C. NFL team's uniform he was representing and honoring American Indians.

"I was very proud to play for the Washington Redskins, and I did it to honor Native people in that regard. I think sometimes people perceive words in their own particular way.

"What happens, what Mr. Snyder decides to do is totally up to him. I can just tell you that when I put that uniform on, and I put that helmet on with the Redskin logo on it, I felt like I was representing more than the Washington Redskins, I was representing the great Native American nations that exist in this country."

Theismann also shared an anecdote.

"I can tell you that when I was at the children's hospital this morning, there was a young Native American boy there with his parents. His grandmother wanted a picture with me, and his father took the picture. And as I shook his hand the father said to me 'You're a Redskin,' and he said it in a very complimentary way, which was very humbling to me."


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an american citizen 's picture
an american citizen
Submitted by an american citizen on

I think the redskin mascot demands as much respect as the cowboys and 49ers, white mascots.

Mojo Hand's picture
Mojo Hand
Submitted by Mojo Hand on

It's amazing how some white people feel entitled to talk on the behalf of minority groups. Sorry, once again, you do not get to define Native Americans. That debate belongs within the Native American community as to what the team name represents.

Thiesmann is a loud mouth and full of it. How would he know what is 'honorable' to Native Americans? The only thing he was honoring was his own ego. what's next? He won the Super Bowl with the Native American community in mind? Get real, Joe! You're just a shill for your former team.

Jeff Gardner's picture
Jeff Gardner
Submitted by Jeff Gardner on

I have been a Redskins fan since the 1970/1971 season when I started watching the games with my father. I have always been attracted to the Native American Culture and, when I was growing up, I always was more interested in the indians in the cowboy and indian movies that were so prevalent back then. The team nickname has been the same since 1937 or there about. It never seemed to offend anyone until about 1991. There are many Virginia Indian tribal members who are Redskin fans and feel like the name honors them. No team would pick a nickname to offend anyone on purpose. Teams pick nicknames that they feel are strong and proud. The Redskins were originally the Boston Braves before the owner, George Preston Marshall, decided to change it to Redskins because he was hoping to draw in Boston Redsocks fans to see the games. When that didn't work and he relocated the team to Washington, he kept the name the same. If it truly offends people maybe one day they should change it back to the Braves. I think that one chooses to be offended. I am not going to tell someone whether or not they should be offended but I do think you will be offended if you believe it was meant to be offensive and certainly it was not in any way chosen to be offensive. Far from it.
It seems to me that it is something that helps to remind people of the Native Americans that are still so much a big part of our communities and so much a big part of our history and who we are as a nation. If it were done in a manner that was meant to be offensive, then I would agree they should change it but I don't think anyone is deliberately trying to offend anyone. For many years Native Americans were sent to "indian schools" and forced to take up the white man's ways and not allowed to dress traditionally or speak their native languages or practice their native customs. I think anything that keeps the Native American's culture in the consciousness of Americans, whether it is past culture and traditions or present culture and traditions, is a good thing.

Anyway that is my opinion on the subject.