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Bill Kelly: Long past time to drop racist names for sports teams

The Washington Redskins logo is shown on the field before the start of a pre-season NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Landover, Md.
The Washington Redskins logo is shown on the field before the start of a pre-season NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Landover, Md. AP Photo/Nick Wass, File

In the year 2020, when we are facing some of the most daunting challenges in decades — COVID-19, economic recession, climate change and continual, overt racism — some of the solutions to these problems are quite complex, but some are also quite simple.

Can we, once and for all, stop idolizing historical figures who perpetrated racist views and policies? And can we stop the demeaning and racist use of derogatory nicknames for sports teams?

Calling the football team in Washington the Redskins is akin to using the N-word to describe African-Americans. It’s reprehensible!

Read more: Washington Redskins announce ‘thorough review’ of name after criticism from FedEx

And the Cleveland Indians? Really?

Native Americans are not Indians; Indians live in India.

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It was a screwed-up explorer who landed in America but thought he was in India who gave them that name.

How much longer are we going to perpetuate that ignorance?

This isn’t an issue of political correctness, as some might suggest — it’s bigger than that.

Read more: Edmonton Eskimos promise to speed up name review, provide update by month’s end

Are we going to pander to those who use disgusting nicknames for Indigenous Peoples and people of colour and the LGBTQ2 community and a wide variety of different ethnic groups?

Eliminating racist names of sports teams isn’t going to solve all of our problems, but it’s a good first step to show that we acknowledge past mistakes and that we can be — and must be — better than this.

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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