A religious case against offensive sports nicknames

Marking perhaps the first consecutive sports story on The Episcopal Cafe…

Rabbi Aaron Frank and Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld have written an op-ed on CNN:

Religious leaders have a mandate to inspire their communities to come closer to God. Sometimes this requires speaking out about even something as secular as a football team’s name.

Of course, they are referring to Washington’s NFL team…

The name represents a derogatory term and recalls a brutal history of genocide and torture – a past of racist dehumanization inflicted upon the American Indians of the United States.

The Bible’s Book of Proverbs states: “Death and life are in the hand of the tongue.”

This means that the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” is simply not true. Words are words and deeds are deeds, but words lead to deeds. That’s why words are so dangerous.

When a name conjures up imagery of violence, oppression, and hurtful behavior, it is time for the name to go.

They address Talmud teachings, a lawsuit once filed by owner Dan Snyder concerning an anti-Semitic caricature of himself, and finally a call to action by rabbis and clergy to raise awareness and seek a name change.

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