Sports in Society Abandoning offensive mascots

Highlights of the progress to rid sports of hurtful images

Decades of protest against racist stereotypes have led to mascot changes in high school, college and professional sports. In 2020, the Washington Football Team finally succumbed to the pressure to drop its controversial team name, in use since 1933.

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There are 1,904 schools (K-12 level) with Native American-themed team names, according to data from the National Congress of American Indians as of May 2021. That includes 45 schools whose teams bear the racial slur "R*dskins." Source: National Congress of American Indians

Since the 1960s, there has been a movement to update mascots and team names in sports, to remove offensive and derogatory Native American stereotypes. Change the Mascot is a national campaign to end the use of the racial slur “R*dskins” as the mascot and name of the NFL team in Washington, D.C. In July 2020, the Washington team finally announced it would drop the name and related logo.

Launched by the Oneida Indian Nation, the organization has tracked the many changes that have happened over time at the high school, college and professional levels. These are some examples of how change has happened.

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Episode Abandoning offensive mascots