According to the Native American son of the Washington Redskins logo designer, the image of the Indian chief is not offensive.
Lance Wetzel — the son of Walter "Blackie" Wetzel, who grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana and was eventually elected president of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C. — said the logo depicting a member of the Blackfeet tribe evokes a sense of pride, not shame.
"When I heard the term redskins growing up, never did I associate it with anything derogatory, and I don't think [the organization] used it in that way," Wetzel said. "My dad was born on the reservation and never once did I hear him say anything negative about the name."
While Wetzel said he sympathized with the name change, he admitted that the decision to retire the logo was "disheartening" to his family.
"Everyone was pretty upset. 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," Wetzel said. "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."
Although the Wetzel family said it is disappointed in the organization's decision, its members are grateful that the Blackfeet tribe was honored for almost 40 years.
"[The logo] depicted Native Americans in a different way. It gave them a face because the Native American population is very low compared to other races. They are the forgotten race when you look at it nationally," Wetzel said. "I don't want that logo to be associated in a negative way, ever."
🔦 The Washington franchise has used the Redskins nickname since 1933.