Champ Bailey says Redskins nickname is tantamount to a racial slur

Veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, who was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1999 and spent his first five seasons with the team, says that its nickname should be changed because it's racially insensitive.

“When you hear a Native American say that ‘Redskins’ is degrading, it’s almost like the N-word for a black person,” Bailey said to USA Today. “If they feel that way, then it’s not right. They are part of this country. It’s degrading to a certain race. Does it make sense to have the name?”

Although other players have said similar things about the Redskins nickname, Bailey is one of the more high-profile players to take such a strong stand on the issue. Bailey, who spent the past 10 seasons with the Denver Broncos and signed with the New Orleans Saints this offseason, has an understanding and respect for the Redskins tradition but says it might be time to consider a change based on his reading of the current social climate.

“I don’t know where the name came from or how it came about, but the bottom line is that it’s still here in this day and age, and it makes no sense to have it,” Bailey said. “I love that organization, but when it starts peeling off old scabs and people are pitching a fit about it because it’s degrading to them, then you’ve got to make a change.”

A one-minute TV ad decrying the use of the Redskins name aired during Tuesday night's NBA finals game between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. The public sentiment against the name — while difficult to quantify — appears to be growing, and yet the Redskins have asked for public support for the Redskins name from its fans, citing the intended respect and tradition of the name.

Bailey knows Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and says that he has dug himself deeper on the issue by pushing back.

“I get it, he doesn’t want to change it,” Bailey said of Snyder. “But he’s making it worse than it should be.

“[The Redskins franchise doesn't]t represent anything that name stands for. It’s a bad reflection of what they really stand for. It’s a bad name.”

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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