Changing Washington “Redskins” name not just right; it’s also good business.

June 20, 2014

The righteous drum continues to beat louder, calling for the termination of the Washington Redskins nickname, which got a huge assist when the United States Patent Office rescinded trademark rights for the moniker, deeming it offensive to Native Americans. Recently, the above commercial ran during the NBA playoffs.

The name is offensive. Period.

Anyone who believes otherwise, consider if the Redskins played a game against a team called the Seattle Slant Eyes or Miami Wetbacks. Why we took so long coming to this painfully obvious conclusion is the only issue worth debating.

Perhaps the biggest grotesque is that Washington DC is literally where, once upon a time, the orders were given to marginalize, if not wipe out, Native Americans. Naming one’s biggest sporting franchise after a people our forefathers nearly crushed out of existence is sick.

And yet the team’s owner, Dan Snyder is steadfast in fighting the injunction and any other measures demanding the team change its name. Claiming the term Redskins is a “badge of honor,” Snyder is not backing down.

Dan, here’s an idea for a name.

Eerie the similarities to what’s going on with the embattled, soon-to-be former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Holding on to old ideas like these have no place in the modern era.

I know the bar stool defense. Old timers rail at political correctness. They bellow: Where does it end? The Fighting Irish? Chief Wahoo? Maybe those do go away. So what? The University of Illinois got rid of their mascot, Chief Illiniwek in 2007, deeming it “hostile and abusive.” The games are still packed with fans. Life went on.

Chief Wahoo. Ouch.

Piss off!

Not long ago, Jacksonville named their NFL team the Jaguars –an animal that is all but extinct in Florida. I think that’s kind of gross. Yet, I hadn’t thought about it until now. Maybe they don’t change the name but a dollar for every ticket goes to helping this endangered animal? New thinking comes from new ideas, even bad ones. New ideas rile people up. And that’s good.

But let’s get off the soapbox and into the boardroom.

Snyder is a businessman. Does he not see the huge financial upside in making a name change? All new jerseys symbolizing doing the right thing: like those wouldn’t sell. Please. As for all that old merch it would immediately become collectible. Moreover, can he not picture the marketing potential such a move would engender? Social media was made for an “event” like this. Fans could be solicited to help create a new moniker, or vote on one. Even if the selection process were contentious the freaking proverbial “conversation” would be radioactive.

I know a thing or two about popular culture and the influence young people have on it. New fans are not beholden to tradition, even when they should be. You can’t tell me the multitudes of young people, who voted for a black president (twice) and adore and follow the multicultural mainstream wouldn’t embrace a new look Washington football team.

Look around you, Mr. Snyder. Athletes are coming out of the closet. Pot is legal. More and more so is gay marriage. The world is moving on. Evolving. Adaptation is sound strategy. Making a name change transcends political correctness; it’s just good business.


6 Responses to “Changing Washington “Redskins” name not just right; it’s also good business.”

  1. Nichole Tinaglia Hoehn said

    9% of Native Americans find the term offensive, see link to a very good POV below. I like your post and your position, however, what if we turn it to the positive. Maintaining a heritage? Keeping Native Americans part of our culture. The Illini Chief was an honored tradition. The students and staff honored the Native Americans in my opinion. I just really believe in this day and age, we have become so overly sensitive. The sensitivities lead to such divide and ultimately lead to HATE. Republican v Democrat, White v Black, Vegetarians v Meat Eaters, Breast Feeders v Bottle Feeders, etc…all we do is shame people for this or that. Don’t do this, Don’t say that. You offended them. You offended a whole group. You’re too religious.

    I saw a “controversy” the other day. Pharrell wearing a headdress on the cover of Elle UK. People were outraged. Pharrell is half cherokee.

  2. markmoll said

    The term Redskin is a racial slam not a sensitivity as you described. Your examples are sides people have taken and they choose which one to be one. That to me is totally different that a name someone is calling you that’s offensive. Regardless if you or Dan Synder think it is. That’s not really up for debate. Maintaining history is great as long as it doesn’t hurt someone’s feelings. Which the name clearly does.

  3. Nichole Tinaglia Hoehn said

    He’s referring to my comments Steffan. 9% of Native Americans don’t like the term. That’s the rest of us being over sensitive.

  4. Redskins said

    Why is it that people are so fixated on this issue? I walk into restraunts with a lazy looking mexican wearing a poncho and I don’t walk out cursing at myself for enjoying delicious tacos promoted by gross caricatures of my peoples struggle.

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