The decision to change Washington’s logo and name is bittersweet for the family of the man who originally designed it. It was announced this past Monday that the team would be retiring the name and logo and would be embarking on a new era after renewed pressure from the public as well as major sponsors and retail stores.
Washington’s logo has been an Indian chief since 1971 and was designed by Native American Walter “Blackie” Wetzel to depict a member of the Blackfeet tribe.
According to Wetzel’s son, Lance, the logo is not offensive, but rather evokes a sense of pride.
“Everyone was pretty upset (about the change),” Lance Wetzel said via WUSA9. “Everyone understood the name change we were all on board with that. Once they weren’t going to use the logo, it was hard. It takes away from the Native Americans. When I see that logo, I take pride in it. You look at the depiction of the Redskins logo and it’s of a true Native American. I always felt it was representing my people. That’s not gone”
The franchise had used the nickname since 1933.
“The Native Americans were forgotten people. That logo, lets people know these people exist,” Wetzel said. “If it were changed and it removed any derogatory feelings toward any person, then I think it’s a win. I don’t want that logo to be associated in a negative way, ever.”
Blackfeet tribe members were actually in attendance at FedEx Field just last season.
During the 2018 season, Walter “Blackie” Wetzel was honored by the team during a game against the Houston Texans.
He passed away back in 2003.
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