The Washington Redskins decided to get in on the #BlackOutTuesday movement by posting a picture of a black square on their Twitter account, and unfortunately, it did not go well for them.
On Tuesday, Twitter and Instagram were filled with images of black squares as people participated in #BlackOutTuesday, an online movement aimed at sharing the content of black creators, as well as anti-racism resources and action steps for allies to take, Today reported. This was started as a response to the death of George Floyd during an incident with Minneapolis Police on Memorial Day and as a way to raise awareness around the Black Lives Matter movement.
Many celebrities, social media influencers, brands, and corporations showed their solidarity by posting black squares on their social media accounts. For the most part, their displays of solidarity were well-received. However, some of the social media accounts that jumped on the bandwagon were accused of being tone-deaf for doing so, which is exactly what happened when the Redskins posted a black square with the #BlackOutTuesday on their Twitter account.
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) June 2, 2020
Twitter users immediately pointed out the supposed hypocrisy of a brand that has refused to change their problematic name and mascot speaking out against racism. Within two hours of the post being made, it had over 5,000 comments, most of which came from people who expressed such sentiments.
“Teams with racial slurs for names should really sit out racism protests,” one Twitter user wrote.
“How about starting with blacking out your logo and change your team’s racist nickname,” another commented. “That’s how you can help combat racism. Look in the damn mirror.”
“Good thing your name isn’t a racial slur. That would certainly be embarrassing,” a third person chimed in.
The Redskins have been caught up in the controversy about their name for decades, according to The Washington Post. In the late 1960s, activists began to protest the use of Native American imagery by sports teams. In 1972, a group of Native American activists asked the team to change their name, but it responded by saying it was not meant to be offensive.
During the 1990s, protesters demonstrated against the Redskins at the Super Bowl, the organization was sued by Native American activists over the use of the name, and the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board determined the name was offensive and ordered the team to update it. The Redskins appealed the decision.
The controversy has continued into the 2000s and 2010s, with increasing calls for Washington’s NFL team to change its name and mascot. In 2013, the movement gained national attention when Native Americans held a forum about changing the name at the National Museum of the American Indian. The issue really heated up again when the team’s owner, Dan Snyder, vowed he would never change the name.
Since then, the debate on the Redskins’ name has stayed in the national consciousness, popping up every now and then when people with a platform bring up the issue.