What’s in a name?

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Ally Daskalopoulos, Columnist

 

Donald Trump has said a lot lately, but one comment he made stood out to me as I was scrolling through the news.

Recently, in a New York Times interview, Trump revealed that he wanted the Washington Redskins to keep their name.

I must admit I’m not Trump’s biggest fan, but there I was, agreeing with his take on whether sports teams should change their names if certain ethnic groups find them offensive.

He also said it was a question only the owner should decide. Jeb Bush also weighed in, saying he didn’t find the Redskin label offensive and neither did Native Americans.

At the same time Jeb added a curious footnote. “I don’t think politicians ought to be having any say about that, to be honest with you,” he said.

So what’s really in a name?

This topic has irritated me for a long time. While some may be more derogatory than others, there seems to be no good reason for a team to forfeit its longstanding name due to the incorrect interpretations of others.

Take the Spartans, a common team name used at many levels of athletic competition. The Spartans were characterized as brutal warriors who were feared throughout Ancient Greece. But as a sports team, they’re adored.

If a sports team admires a culture or ethnicity enough to adopt its name, then I would argue that society would be more likely to idolize than criticize them for it.

Think about the cheering crowd and the painted faces – not only do fans and members of society worship teams from their alma mater or native city, sports teams admire their loyal fans.

It’s a two way street – teams that perform well are encouraged by their dedicated fans, just as fans are inspired by the stellar performance of their favorite teams and players.

Athletes should strive to be as heroic, driven and determined as their designated team name makes them out to be.