The hardcore fans are going to object the least. If they’re that into it they’ll come watch the Cleveland Stench, the Washington Swamp Maggots.
The only rationale I can see for actively opposing a change is “we can’t let Those People think they can tell their betters what to do.”
To challenge the widespread use and acceptance of culturally offensive names, mascots, and logos by amateur and professional sports teams.
To raise money and provide publicity opportunities among new audiences for charities and organizations that serve the needs and protect the dignity and culture of American Indians and First Nations people and communities.
I’ve always really hated the racist names and logos in certain sports and how they continue to be allowed and tolerated. >_< I also hate that whenever the papers occasionally address it, it’s always in poll form, like 79% of Americans are okay with the name, ignoring that a) it’s still a small sample space and where you’re polling people from can make a big difference b) most of those aren’t Native people and them being okay with it is irrelevant and c) so what? All that means is that those people who are okay with it are racist, or okay with a racist name/logo. That means it should be kept? Even the Sports Illustrated poll which claimed that 2/3s of Natives weren’t “offended”, but 1/3 were, so we should just offend them? And it’s not like those 2/3s would be offended if the name was changed, chances are they would be fine with it.
In fact, I’m willing to bet all of the Americans polled who are okay with the name would be okay with a name change as well. No Washington or NFL fan, hardcore or otherwise, is going to be boycotting the team because it changes the name, just like no Cleveland fan will stop going to games because they change the “Indians” name or get rid of the logo. But you may get MORE fans by changing it, people who are offended, and put off, who feel that supporting the team, or even the entire league is supporting appropriation and racism. It’s a good business decision, as well as the right thing to do (and the right thing to do even if it’s a bad business decision.)
It’s more than just “oh some people are offended”, it’s taking responsibility for the past and current culture of colonization, marginalization, oppression, genocide, and appropriation of Native peoples. Even if it’s “just a team name”, it’s still part of that culture, it legitimizes that culture, and worse, it trivializes it. It says that all of that terrible history isn’t a big deal, and we can just use slurs and offensive caricatures of people we’ve historically oppressed as names and logos for casual entertainment, to put on t-shirts and hats that are worn by millions without a thought at all. That’s why it matters that these teams change their names and logos, that they say “no, this is wrong, and we’re no longer going to add to it.”