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It’s time, Redskins

by Nick Vitrano

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder says the team will never change its name.

"We will never change the name of the team," Snyder said. "As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it's all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season."

Im not an over-the-top P.C. fella. When you attempt not to do things (in this case, not to offend anyone) you end up pleasing none. But the mascot/naming debate is one of those issues, especially Native American references, about which I default to the feelings of those to whom the mascot represents.

As a student at Wauwatosa East High School (home of the Red Raiders), we embraced arguably the most offensive mascot in the history of mascots. Tommy Raider was his name.

Yep. That was our mascot.

I often speak of the things that I cannot believe have happened in the lifetimes of those who still walk this planet. That is one of those things.

Back when I was a high schooler, I didnt give Tommy Raider a second thought. He was just a mean lookin warrior guy around whom we would rally on game day. And even now I can look at him and say, Dang, the dude is pretty bad a*s. Of course, the overriding truth is that Tommy Raider, though bad a*s and mean lookin and a symbol of ferocity and therein a source of pride for all who performed under him, is heinously offensive!

Tommy Raider was not only perched atop the gymnasium and plastered on apparel yes, students and administrators alike used to wear that guy there was a time when he would roam the sidelines in costumed glory. In fact, he had a little lady friend, all dolled up in buckskin fringe, who would dance around prior to the game and get the fans all fired up.

Yep. That happened.

We wore it proudly. We loved Tommy the Red Raider. And he was designed with noble intentions. But, noble intentions, traditions - these are not legitimate roadblocks to change. That dude had to go. And unless a specific group OKs a specific reference, they all need to go. At the very least, Dan-O, the name has got to be amended.