Given everything going on in the world, I cannot phantom how and why these cruel and offensive names still exist. Yet, they do. I wrote the first version of this post in 2014! Unbelievable it is even more relevant now…

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for the termination of the Washington Redskins nickname, which got a huge assist when the United States Patent Office rescinded trademark rights for the moniker, deeming it offensive to Native Americans.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.

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.

“Hey, Irish, let’s make the world a better place!”

Watching the Notre Dame game this weekend, I was taken aback by the university’s advertising. Why? Because it’s good. Not awards show material, but solid. The campaign answers to the tagline: We are the fighting Irish. But instead of playing up the famous football team and the college’s illustrious all-American history, ND chooses a more enlightened interpretation to the line and, in turn, toward marketing their campus. Notre Dame is fighting for the environment, fighting for a healthy global economy, and fighting for the rights of handicapped athletes.

Normally, the obligatory commercial for each school playing in a televised game is just that: obligatory. Typically, we see students bent over their textbooks in the library or gallivanting across their picturesque campus. Often the propaganda intersperses famous alumni and iconic buildings. These are the motifs most often associated with college advertising. The approach is understandable, given budget constraints and financial priorities.

It’s not that Notre Dame avoids these elements in the construction of their advertising; it’s how they put them together. Most are well written, well produced and, in their own way, powerful.

Lest you think I’m a Notre Dame alum or fan, I’m not. Basically, I grew up hating Notre Dame and its goody-goody reputation. The fact that they always won drove me and countless others crazy. The fact that they have been losing of late mostly makes me happy, as it does my brother, Daniel who went to USC. I say mostly because my great friend, John Coveny (writer/producer: The Closer & Trust Me) is a Notre Dame alumnus. For his sake I want the team competitive. Sort of.

Regardless of one’s fandom, we have to give props to Notre Dame’s advertising campaign, especially the long form commercials. They portray ND as enlightened, world class and compassionate.

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