Join 3,558 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Enough
June 13, 2013 7:40 AM   Subscribe

An open letter to Dan Snyder (Owner of the Washington Professional Football Team).

Earlier this month, 10 members of Congress wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Commissioner Goodell responded that "Redskins" is a "a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect." Owner Dan Snyder responded that there will be no changes.
posted by Groundhog Week (126 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder how differently this will play out given that Dan Snyder seems to be the biggest asshole owner in a league full of asshole owners. Part of me think he'll stick to his guns for longer than someone else might, but a larger part of me thinks that because he'll get no personal support on the issue (because he is such a dick), it may end up getting changed sooner.

(To be clear, I think changing it is a good thing -- just wondering.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:45 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dan Snyder is among the worst human beings on the planet, and every time I hear his name, I am glad that he went into business instead of politics. Goodell, on the other hand, is just a garden-variety money-grubbing shitbag, and I'm firmly convinced that he is only taking this stance because Snyder will blow shit up if he doesn't get his way on this incredibly stupid issue.

("Stupid" meaning that the change should have been made years ago, and Snyder is doubly a moron for not realizing that he could sell so much more shit if they changed the name and the iconography.)
posted by Etrigan at 7:52 AM on June 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


Fucking uncivilized savages. Rich white NFL owners I mean.

There's a t-shirt you see in Indian Country a lot that looks like a standard issue pro sports logo with the script word "Caucasians."
posted by spitbull at 7:52 AM on June 13, 2013 [20 favorites]


I also think it is long past time for the change. Chris Rock was on about this 20 years ago. Chris Rock is right about a lot of stuff.

Anyway, St. John's changed the name of their sports teams from 'Red Men' to the awful but at least not racist 'Red Storm;' it's time for the Washington NFL franchise to grow up and do the right thing.
posted by Mister_A at 7:53 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would love to see that 'Caucasians' tee!
posted by Mister_A at 7:54 AM on June 13, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'll just leave this link to the Washington CityPaper's classic piece about how Dan Snyder is terrible at everything.

Snyder tried to sue the paper for libel over the article, but the suit was ultimately dropped, because everything in the article was true.

It's almost inexplicable that the guy still has money to invest, given that everything he touches turns to poo. He's rich because had one successful business venture (out of many) that he happened to cash out at the exact right moment).
posted by schmod at 7:56 AM on June 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


Caucasians.

Uncyclopedia link. Cleveland-specific visual pun.
posted by spitbull at 7:56 AM on June 13, 2013


Also, stop letting those big dudes bump their heads. Turns out it's not so good for their health.
posted by mullacc at 7:57 AM on June 13, 2013


Oh sorry, didn't see Mr.A had linked it already.
posted by spitbull at 7:57 AM on June 13, 2013


I know Snyder deservedly gets the brunt of the hate, but Jesus, the only way Goodell could have sounded worse is if he said "we conquered those savages centuries ago, so deal with it."

Related, the Kansas City Star has made it a policy to avoid using the word in its paper when covering the NFL. Said the paper's public editor: "I see no compelling reason for any publisher to reprint an egregiously offensive term as a casual matter of course."

God I hate the NFL.
posted by dry white toast at 7:57 AM on June 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


That KC STar policy is cool. If enough media outlets refuse to use the name the value of the brand goes down, now, doesn't it! I can see lobbying my favorite media outlets to adopt this policy.
posted by spitbull at 8:00 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


How about the "Washington Spies" instead.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:00 AM on June 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


And the Washington City Paper went so far as to unilaterally rename the team the Pigskins, a.k.a. the Hogs.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:01 AM on June 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


Anyway, St. John's changed the name of their sports teams from 'Red Men' to the awful but at least not racist 'Red Storm;'

As a long-time fan of the Burgundy & Gold, I'd love to see the name become 'Redhawks', like Miami University did. We can keep the colors and much of the feather iconography tradition and still lose the shitty name.
posted by 0 at 8:02 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am asking you to step out of your gated community and roll with me Midnight Run–style to a bar on the Pine Ridge reservation among the Black Hills in the great state of South Dakota. Once there, you will walk proudly through the door, stand tall in a beautiful burgundy-and-gold Starter jacket and your famous Redskins belt buckle, and sing our shared fight song, "Hail to the Redskins." Explain the rich history of the team to all present. Tell them about how it's really a tribute, as your former vice-president Karl Swanson said, "derived from the Native American tradition for warriors to daub their bodies with red clay before battle." Make it plain that you mean no disrespect, and then let's roll the cameras and make YouTube magic.

Do this in any white working class part of Philadelphia or Dallas or New York and you'll get the same hostile result - for different reasons, but still. There is more than one reason to despise this team.
posted by three blind mice at 8:03 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like sports.
But there are some things I force myself to miss.
Like I never met an athlete I like, and hockey in Texas.
When it comes to Native American nicknamed teams,
Even within the context of sports it's awful and mean.

And you'll go "Wah wah wah, you're so PC."
And I will say, "Hey wait,
my my my how have the table turns to be a fucking prick is a desirable trait."

While we're on the subject of changing team names,
there's no jazz in Utah and few lakes in LA.
Just this once give me the benefit of the doubt.
The Bullets became the Wizards. Too violent? Get out.

And you'll go "Wah wah wah, you're so PC."
And I will say, "Hey wait,
remind me again how it came to be that being a stupid American is a desirable trait."

Wouldn't it be offensive if we cheered,
"Rah rah rah" we're the Carolina Negroes
with a beat box cheer and a fake foam afro.
The Minnesota Vikings
became the New York Kikes
with dollar bills on their helmets
cause thats what they're like ya know.

"Atom, what about the Saints, Angels, Padres too?
Ain't that the same thing for Christians thats offending you?"
"When there's a Jesus Christ mascot shooting crucifixes
they nailed to a cross dying to save the team,
you'll be right, you'll be right.
But until then
you're... not... right"

So what's your take on Washington Redskins?
What's your take on the Cleveland Indians?
What's your take on Washington Redskins?
What's your take on the Cleveland Indians?
posted by Ghost Mode at 8:04 AM on June 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


Actually just honestly asking as a non-sports fan, is there an objection to the Chicago Blackhawks, especially now that they're in the Stanley Cup finals?
posted by nevercalm at 8:05 AM on June 13, 2013


Also, "Hogs" happens to be a nickname that was used during the '80s for the team's offensive line, so it has some relevance. Unlike "Redskins," which seems to have been entirely a consequence of George Marshall being a Grade A racist.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:06 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually just honestly asking as a non-sports fan, is there an objection to the Chicago Blackhawks, especially now that they're in the Stanley Cup finals?

They're named after an infantry division who was named after a real person, Chief Blackhawk who fought against the white man and had an entire war named after him.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:11 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Blackhawk is not nearly as bad, since Black Hawk was a leader and warrior from the Saulk tribe. More akin to a name like "Generals". But to me, it's the logo that's more offensive.

But yeah, none of the names out there these days approaches the racism of a word like "redksin"
posted by dry white toast at 8:12 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oooooo that's groovy, so the opposite of the Washington team, the Chi team is almost respectful? That's a little mindblowing.
posted by nevercalm at 8:12 AM on June 13, 2013


Frank Luntz hired by Washington football team to convince people name isn’t horribly racist (not The Onion)
posted by exogenous at 8:13 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it drives me nuts how much people are willing to pretend the name isn't racist while having no idea about the very openly racist history of the name and the organization. They had a racist owner and were the team of the South before the NFL expanded more teams there.

From the Post story on the death of Shirley Povich:

He had a long-running feud with Washington Redskins founder and owner George Preston Marshall over the team's all-white roster, once writing "Jim Brown, born ineligible to play for the Redskins, integrated their end zone three times yesterday." In another column, he noted "the Redskins colors are burgundy, gold and Caucasian."

Povich kept up the heat for so long, Marshall finally caved in 1962, with more pressure from the Kennedy Administration that often clipped Povich columns to use in New Frontier speeches. That year, the Redskins signed Bobby Mitchell, now an assistant general manager, and became the last team in the NFL with a black player. "I have the highest, highest respect for Shirley Povich," Mitchell said recently.


I like the Pigskins name. I've been suggesting that a lot not even knowing a paper was using it. Everybody I suggest it to in person seems to hate it though.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:19 AM on June 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


Somewhat related: a redesign-and-rename the Redskins contest, courtesy of Uni Watch.
posted by stannate at 8:23 AM on June 13, 2013


Wikipedia has a good summary of the Native American Mascot Controversy.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 8:24 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Pigskins is a horrible name because 1) it has nothing to do with the locality of Washington D.C. in particular and 2) it would serve as a constant reminder of the Redskins, a very offensive word.

Start from a clean slate.
posted by Ghost Mode at 8:32 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Washington PRISMs has a nice ring to it, no?
posted by schmod at 8:33 AM on June 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


One could argue that the use of Native Americans as a sports mascot, in any form, is demeaning. Mascots are supposed to be talismanic, i.e., they symbolize or evoke good qualities for a sports team--lions are brave and ferocious, dolphins are smart and swift. Or else they point to a particular aspect of the town they're from--Pittsburgh makes (or made) steel, Green Bay is a meatpacking hub, etc. The use of Chiefs or Braves, etc. is supposed to be the first kind of mascot, meant to evoke the bravery and strength of Native American warriors. But given the fact that the U.S. is built on the expropriation of Tribal lands and the murder and ghettoization of Tribal populations, it's a little sickening to have Native Americans be treated as a kind of good luck charm--especially when it's done in the most racist manner possible. I don't expect every team with a Native American mascot to change their name, but at the least we can discard the use of degrading names and images. So yes, the Redskins should change their name, and the Cleveland Indians should get rid of Chief Wahoo. As for Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City--don't get too comfortable.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:34 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look, you can even keep the aboriginal theme, even if it's cultural appropriation. Just, you know, make it a celebration of heritage that's accurate to the actual traditions of local groups, includes them in the depiction and so on. Then you can even pat yourself on the back for being inclusive.
posted by Phalene at 8:40 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for bringing the Atom and his Package, Ghost Mode!
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:41 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Stanford University axed the Indians mascot in 1972. It was not controversial. The new name process was a hoot as the students overwhelmingly voted to call the team the Trees.

(The logo has a tree on it.)
posted by bukvich at 8:42 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unlike "Redskins," which seems to have been entirely a consequence of George Marshall being a Grade A racist.

In keeping with Marshall's ingrained bigotry, the original 1938 lyrics to the fight song of the 'skins (as many DCers prefer to call them) were pretty offensive. The phoney "war dance" music in its bridge is also obnoxious, not least as an insertion into a rip-off of "Yes, Jesus Loves Me":
Hail to the Redskins! Hail Victory!
Braves on the Warpath! Fight for old Dixie!

Run or pass and score—we want a lot more!
Scalp 'em, swamp 'em—we will take 'em big score!
Read 'em, weep 'em, touchdown—we want heap more!

Fight on, fight on, 'till you have won
Sons of Wash-ing-ton. Rah!, Rah!, Rah!
Marshall didn't have them changed until 1959, only shortly before he was forced to integrate the team. This was hardly surprising, as he had spent the team's first decades promoting the 'skins as the South's football team since it had few competitors below the Mason-Dixon line. It's past time for the team to finish discarding its racist legacy.

"The Washington Beltway Bandits" has a nice ring to it, I think.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:42 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Pigskins is a horrible name because 1) it has nothing to do with the locality of Washington D.C. in particular and 2) it would serve as a constant reminder of the Redskins, a very offensive word.

I can understand 2. It's definitely a reminder and I can see why people won't like that, but I like it because it is a compromise that gets the naked racial slur out of the name at least while still letting the team be called the Skins.

As for 1, that isn't really a requirement for a good name in my view. Hog imagery is already associated with the team, and the team is connected to the city.

The Philadelphia Eagles aren't named after anything specific to the city and I think it's a great name. They were named by founder DeBenneville "Bert" Bell after the logo of the National Recovery Administration. I love to point out my team is named after a New Deal program to help the poor as opposed to a virulent racial slur when engaging in trash talk with liberal sports fans from DC. :P
posted by Drinky Die at 8:45 AM on June 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


(On the other hand, the Ravens have a fantastic name based perfectly off the history of the city itself. That way works too.)
posted by Drinky Die at 8:46 AM on June 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


You've also made clear your contempt for the D.C. mayor and the D.C. City Council, who have said if you ever want to see public subsidies for this venture, the name must change.

Ah...what? Are all the NFL football teams getting public subsidies?
It's one thing to run a sports team for your own personal profit, but tax dollars shouldn't go to them...at all. The very idea just pisses me off. This pisses me off more than the name of the team, and I am 1/8th Chickasaw. God I hate football.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 8:47 AM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


They renamed the Washington Bullets to the Wizards 15 years ago because of the connotations. That the Redskins remain and will remain amazes me.

Though I grew up watching the 'skins and left the area in 1996 before the they took the field for the first time, I say I'm a Ravens fan because I don't want to fake sports knowledge of a totally racist team.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:53 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not like this is a new fight-- my kindergarten class wrote a letter to the Redskins asking them about a name change, and that was two decades ago.

Granted, we asked him to rename the team the "Tulips" so that was probably a no-go.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:54 AM on June 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


The Philadelphia Eagles aren't named after anything specific to the city and I think it's a great name.

That's a great historical note, but I have to say that the association of eagles (the national bird) and Philadelphia (the host city for the two Continental Congresses and the writing of the Constitution) has always made perfect sense.
posted by Etrigan at 8:54 AM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd totally be a fan of the Washington Tulips.

I'd go for the Cherry Blossoms, too.
posted by notyou at 8:56 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


They renamed the Washington Bullets to the Wizards 15 years ago because of the connotations.

The joke at the time was that, because the Washington Bullets were changing their name to be less associated with violence, they would now be known simply as the Bullets.
posted by Etrigan at 8:56 AM on June 13, 2013 [19 favorites]


Are all the NFL football teams getting public subsidies?

Via their stadiums, almost all of them are, yes.
For instance, just three of the NFL's 31 stadiums were originally built without public funds. In two of those cases, public funding was later used to upgrade the stadium or surrounding facilities, even as all 32 of the NFL's teams ranked among Forbes' 50 most valuable sporting franchises in the world in 2012. (Only MetLife Stadium, shared by the New York Jets and New York Giants, received no public funding.)
posted by Etrigan at 8:58 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


In honor of Etrigan's first comment, I think I like the idea of naming it after the owner himself: The Washington Worst Human Beings on the Planet.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:58 AM on June 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


Are all the NFL football teams getting public subsidies?

Most teams do when they build a stadium, which is I think what is being referred to there - public subsidies for relocating the team to DC. They currently play in Landover, MD.
posted by troika at 8:58 AM on June 13, 2013


They renamed the Washington Bullets to the Wizards 15 years ago because of the connotations.

"They" in this case being Abe Pollin, one of a rare breed of team owners with a social conscience. Suffice to say, Dan Snyder doesn't suffer from that problem.
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:01 AM on June 13, 2013


My aunt teaches at a school in rural Alaska whose name for sports team and the like is the Half Breeds. The logo is a white man facing a native person; the white man is holding a rifle and the native person is holding a spear.

So there's that.
posted by kate blank at 9:01 AM on June 13, 2013


In honor of Etrigan's first comment, I think I like the idea of naming it after the owner himself: The Washington Worst Human Beings on the Planet.

If they went with The Washington Flaming Assholes, they could keep their colors the same.
posted by Etrigan at 9:01 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's amazing how tenacious people cling to their mascot names. Even when it has nothing to do with with racism. A few years back, up here in N MN there was some school consolidation up on The Range, so renaming mascots had to be done, and I swear to god, parents you likely have never shown ANY interest in their kid's school academics turned out in droves with all manner of passionately held beliefs why some jackass mascot was part of their heritage and should never be touched EVAH. the kids? By and large didn't seem to give a fuck.

Over in North Dakota they just went through a big bruhaha about changing the State University Mascot (use to be The Fighting Sioux) the NCAA forced them to change... well that is the University voted to discontinue the name and logo, but the enlightened *coff* ND legislature forbid them to adopt a new mascot until 2015, which is just .. weird.
posted by edgeways at 9:02 AM on June 13, 2013


If they went with The Washington Flaming Assholes, they could keep their colors the same.

Sponsored by Ben's Chili Bowl?
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:03 AM on June 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


The Pigskins is a horrible name because 1) it has nothing to do with the locality of Washington D.C. in particular

From pulled pork BBQ to pork-barrel spending and a few other things in between, I can think of a few things it has to do with the locality of Washington DC in particular. Detroit isn't exactly the natural habitat of lions, nor is Chicago a city populated by bears (the animal, anyway), Chargers has nothing to do with San Diego, and so on. And when's the last time a band of pirates set sail on the high seas to plunder and pillage the good people of Pittsburgh? I mean come on.

Pigskins is a lousy name mostly because it just sounds dumb and is a mockery of the current, offensive name.
posted by The World Famous at 9:05 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


It could be like NASCAR and they could just brand the hell out of the uniforms. Ben's Chili Bowl/Tucks medicated pads/XYZ ass cushions/Johnny Cash's Ring of fire.. ETbuggerT
posted by edgeways at 9:06 AM on June 13, 2013


I seriously doubt it's just the lack of public subsidies for yet another hulk of a stadium complex within DC proper-- how could he make sure the fans didn't walk there? Or pay something less than $40 a game to park in the sort-of-nearby-vicinity?
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:06 AM on June 13, 2013


The Philadelphia Eagles aren't named after anything specific to the city and I think it's a great name.

It's meta because the franchise right now is on a wing and a prayer.
posted by Talez at 9:15 AM on June 13, 2013


As an example of how to do this right Florida State uses the name "Seminoles" but has established an ongoing relationship with the local Seminole tribe, and the tribe in fact gave their blessing to the name.

It's interesting to note in that article that the NCAA has a policy about "hostile and abusive" team names. Good job NFL, you made the NCAA look forward thinking.
posted by dry white toast at 9:17 AM on June 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


Here's what needs to happen.

After my Falcons win the Super Bowl next year, Washington's team comes together under fabulous young phenom Robert Griffin III, who leads them to three consecutive Super Bowl victories (three so that they can defeat a different division rival each year in the NFCCG). Fans are ecstatic. Then tragedy strikes -- in the off-season, RGIII is viciously mauled by a pack of coyotes while rescuing an innocent baby from a dumpster on K Street. The baby, it turns out, is Snyder's illegitimate child. Griffin fights valiantly, but succumbs to his grievous wounds. Snyder, seeing the horror he has wrought, sells the team, donates all his money to worthy causes, and departs on a quest for redemption that will end badly, but that's another story. The teams new owners see an opportunity and change the team name to the Washington Griffins. They have a choice of sweet logos. Everyone is happy.

And then the Griffins never win another Super Bowl in my lifetime.

Wins all around.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:20 AM on June 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


Edgeways, You haven't happened to catch any European pro hockey recently have you?

I want to start a kickstarter campaign to buy stadium naming rights to another pro football stadium and name it something highly offensive to Daniel Snyder.

"Thanks, Terry and Howie. We have a beautiful day here at Daniel Snyder's Herpes scar stadium and we're set for a grueling matchup between two bitter rivals."
posted by cmfletcher at 9:24 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Pigskins is a horrible name because 1) it has nothing to do with the locality of Washington D.C. in particular

It does have a lot to do with the history of the team, tho.

Also, for those who wanted a "Caucasians" team t-shirt, here instead is the online store of the University of Northern Colorado Fightin' Whites
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:25 AM on June 13, 2013


I think those who want to end this need to start pressuring Walmart, CVS and other national retailers to stop carrying Redskins branded merchandise. They should also go after key Redskins sponsors like FedEx, Papa Johns, etc.
posted by humanfont at 9:25 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, you can tell I don't follow sports. I read this FPP and thought it was about a football team called the Washington Professionals.
posted by brundlefly at 9:29 AM on June 13, 2013


I always refer to the Washington NFL team as the Washington Foreskins, because it amuses me so.
posted by e1c at 9:35 AM on June 13, 2013


Pekin, Illinois used to be the Chinks. Now they're the Dragons.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:36 AM on June 13, 2013


The World Famous: "From pulled pork BBQ to pork-barrel spending and a few other things in between"

It still astonishes me that nobody in this city has started a BBQ joint named 'The Pork-Barrel,' or a chicken place named 'West Wings.'
posted by schmod at 9:37 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Traditional racism is still racism. At least the team should own up to this fact.

Why would white middle-class male Americans care, though?
posted by clvrmnky at 9:52 AM on June 13, 2013


Kornheiser and Wilbon talked about it on PTI (at about 5:08 in).

An excerpt:

And in this instance he has no courage. What he's done is gutless. There's nothing positive about it. Redskin is like using the N word to African American people, ok. Let's not mince our words here. Roger Goodell sounds like a fool. He sounds like somebody who doesn't have the courage to confront one his own member institutions and its owner Dan Snyder.
posted by juiceCake at 9:58 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


the Washington Foreskins

Mefite playertobenamedlater does this too, though he calls them the Landover Foreskins for added derision. It's great.
posted by troika at 10:02 AM on June 13, 2013


Goodell's "defense" of the name is something a lot of folks say when they try to justify the usage of Indian mascots. Unfortunately, what it really does is take Indian culture and reduces it to a one-dimensional stereotype, and then represented in any way seen fit. It also has a side-effect of showing Indian youth that these images are basically all they can amount to, because that's how the rest of the nation sees them; nothing more than caricatures of feathers, buckskin, and warpaint (which, it can be argued, has also lost whatever importance and symbolism it may have had).

And while the Seminoles may have approved of FSU's name and mascot, there are still issues with how Seminole culture is portrayed such as the "Massacre" war chant and "tomahawk chop" done at sporting events.

I really like that winning UniWatch fan entry.
posted by CancerMan at 10:05 AM on June 13, 2013


As a lifelong Washington Football fan, I hate that the named hasn't changed yet. So does my father, another lifelong fan.

I think Snyder underestimates the disdain for the name in the DC area. I also think he doesn't want to spend the big bucks that re-branding would cost. I know re-branding is expensive, but honestly, it's less expensive that all these coaches he hires for a couple seasons and then fires with contract still in tact because the haven't won a Superbowl fast enough for him.

Snyder...maybe look at big picture here? (Although why start now, seeing as it's done you so well to be an impatient, petulant little boy in the past....not bitter at all)
posted by whitetigereyes at 10:07 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


oh yes, I hate the tomahawk chop. Hate hate hate! Hate.
posted by dry white toast at 10:07 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think Snyder underestimates the disdain for the name in the DC area.

Honest question: then why do people buy the merch and go to the games? I mean, if you want to motivate change, expressing your distaste with your dollars would be the way to go, no?
posted by dry white toast at 10:09 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that pegging changing the name to some absurd fantasy of Washington ever winning a superbowl probably isn't the most convincing argument, but I do agree that it's long past due, and that Synder is a terrible person.
posted by codacorolla at 10:11 AM on June 13, 2013


And when's the last time a band of pirates set sail on the high seas to plunder and pillage the good people of Pittsburgh? I mean come on.

Pittburgh's nickname comes more from corporate piracy than the rape and pillage type so it's still appropriate.
posted by octothorpe at 10:16 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


As a DC native, who's not a sports fan (the opposite, in fact) I must say, this will never happen. I know those people, and their devotion to their 'Skins, and they won't willingly go along with a name-change. Ever.
posted by Rash at 10:16 AM on June 13, 2013


Then why do people buy the merch and go to the games? I mean, if you want to motivate change, expressing your distaste with your dollars would be the way to go, no?

That's a good question, and I'm not sure I have an answer. I think that most people assume not spending $150 on tickets or $100 on a jersey will have no effect in the long term.

My guess is that if you asked most fans around here if they wanted the name changed, they would say yes. But then if you ask them if they are willing to boycott their team so the owner gets the picture, the answer would be a resounding no. They want to support the players they love, even if it means putting up with a horrible name and a horrible owner.

Codacorolla...I don't think those two are related but it would certainly be a better use of Snyder's money. I'm just saying if the cost is going to be one of Snyder's arguments, he can shove it based on everything else he's shelled out for.
posted by whitetigereyes at 10:21 AM on June 13, 2013


Just thought of it. Dan Snyder could compromise and re-brand his team the Rednecks. Same offensive stereotyping, but with the benefit of white privilege!
posted by CancerMan at 10:23 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


octothorpe: " Pittburgh's nickname comes more from corporate piracy than the rape and pillage type so it's still appropriate."

That's an awesome story, and one that, as a native Philadelphian living in Pittsburgh, I'll be sharing with a lot of my friends and coworkers.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:26 AM on June 13, 2013


If they went with The Washington Flaming Assholes, they could keep their colors the same.

Sponsored by Ben's Chili Bowl?


oh man. i would root for the washington half-smokes in two heartbeats.
posted by kerning at 10:27 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


80% of people nationally don't think the name should change. I would not expect the fans to. Still needs to change.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:27 AM on June 13, 2013


Thanks for bringing the Atom and his Package, Ghost Mode!

Important to note the name of the song: "If you own the Washington Redskins, You're a Cock."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:27 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a DC native, who's not a sports fan (the opposite, in fact) I must say, this will never happen. I know those people, and their devotion to their 'Skins, and they won't willingly go along with a name-change. Ever.

It ties into something we were discussing in the latest Civil War trainwreck thread -- if you change the name just because it's offensive, then you admit that you were contributing to and rooting for an organization with an offensive name, and that means you're a racist. (Of course, it doesn't mean that, but that's how people think.) Of course, no fan of that team wants to admit that he's a racist, so the name can't change.
posted by Etrigan at 10:28 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


An open letter to Rocky Wirtz, owner of the NHL's Chicago franchise:

Dear Rocky,

You've been lucky so far. The football team in the Potomac basin has an actual all-out slur for a name. The baseball team on the Cuyahoga has a terribly racist looking caricature of a mascot. And the baseball team in Georgia has the most offensive chant in American sports, still engaged in vigorously to this day. So you don't look so bad.

And yes, you are named after an infantry division, who named themselves after a brave leader. But people are starting to take note of the idea that maybe it's offensive for the US Army to name things after people who fought two wars against them, much less people that the US Army captured and took on a shaming tour of the eastern US, including a stop in Detroit where they were hung in effigy by an angry crowd.

And people can see the front of your jerseys. Not only is that a racist stereotype, it's not even a racist stereotype that is a picture of Chief Black Hawk. Would you take in good faith a team that named itself the Obamas, but just put a random cartoon African-American on their shirt?

So yes, you have a lot of history. And yes, your name is carved on the best trophy in sports four times. So there are reasons not to change. Good news! There's an easy way forward for you:

Put a bird on it. That's all; just put a fucking angry-looking bird of genus Accpiter with dark plumage on your jersey. A black Hawk, if you will. Replace the crossed tomahawk motif on your shoulderpatch with a six-pointed star; anybody who complains about losing the racist stereotype can look at the star, and think about how great the other symbols of the city of Chicago are, and how demeaning it is to have a racist team logo amongst them. The name can stay the same, and then 50 years from now, when the Cubs beat the recently renamed Cleveland Spiders in the World Series, it will be a long-forgotten piece of trivia that Chicago's totally non-offensive Blackhawks were once a racist-nickname team.

PS: Great game last night. Keep feeding Crawford whatever the hell he's on.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:34 AM on June 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


schmod: Snyder tried to sue the paper for libel over the article, but the suit was ultimately dropped, because everything in the article was true.

He probably would have been forced to drop it at some point for that, but the actual reason that he dropped the suit when he did was even better- he told the NY Times in an interview that he had not and was not going to read the article in question, which caused his lawyers to rescind immediately.
posted by Challahtronix at 10:45 AM on June 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


no fan of that team wants to admit that he's a racist, so the name can't change.

Goodell got one thing right in his letter to Congress: The Burgundy & Gold have one of the most ethnically diverse fan bases around. I'd wager there's more non-white fans than white ones. I think it's a lot more complicated than simple racism.
posted by 0 at 10:46 AM on June 13, 2013


My high school used to take the field as the Redskins. My senior year, we were informed that the mascot would be changing and voting forms were passed around with three options: the Red Hawks, the Red Wave or the Red Birds. One of my more enterprising schoolmates pointed out that the school administrators were focusing too closely on the "red" portion of the soon-to-be-gone name and he began a grassroots campaign to write in another option: the Foreskins.

We apparently voted for the Red Hawks, but I'd eat my shirt if, given the opportunity to oversee the election results, the Foreskin pile wasn't twice as thick.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 10:58 AM on June 13, 2013


no fan of that team wants to admit that he's a racist, so the name can't change.

Goodell got one thing right in his letter to Congress: The Burgundy & Gold have one of the most ethnically diverse fan bases around. I'd wager there's more non-white fans than white ones. I think it's a lot more complicated than simple racism.


My point was that it's more meta-racism at this point, but I think the fact that some non-white fans don't mind the slur on other non-white fans is an intentional distraction by the (overwhelmingly white) NFL power structure: "We can't be racist, here's an African-American who likes the name!"
posted by Etrigan at 11:14 AM on June 13, 2013


The Washington Deadly Sins?

(Grew up in the DC area, long-time fan, and yeah, they should have changed the name decades ago...)
posted by fikri at 11:16 AM on June 13, 2013


Fightin' Whities

Redskins, in 2013 (or any other time), is fucking disgraceful.
posted by maxwelton at 11:16 AM on June 13, 2013


They should follow in Baltimore's footsteps and choose a name from the rich cultural and artistic history of D.C.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Washington Fugazis
posted by rocket88 at 11:34 AM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why would white middle-class male Americans care, though?

Well, I'm a middle-aged, middle-class, straight white male American, and I don't like to see ethnic slurs being used, just because it's not kind. Since you asked.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:41 AM on June 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


They just need to change their mascot and logo to a potato.
posted by ckape at 11:44 AM on June 13, 2013


a name from the rich cultural and artistic history of DC

So, how about the Washington Dukes? (As in Ellington).
posted by Rash at 11:49 AM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


All I want is for someone to bring back the Chicago Rockets.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:57 AM on June 13, 2013


whitetigereyes: "I think Snyder underestimates the disdain for the name in the DC area. I also think he doesn't want to spend the big bucks that re-branding would cost. I know re-branding is expensive, but honestly, it's less expensive that all these coaches he hires for a couple seasons and then fires with contract still in tact because the haven't won a Superbowl fast enough for him."

Herein lies the problem. The Redskins' fanbase (and certainly its cultural soul) isn't centered in DC, or really anywhere close to it. They're emblematic of the old south, which doesn't really have much of a presence in DC, apart from a few of the far-flung VA suburbs.

It's tough to articulate, but the Redskins haven't been a "DC" team in a long, long time. Even when they were still playing at RFK.
posted by schmod at 11:59 AM on June 13, 2013


I vote for The Washington Bad Brains
posted by The World Famous at 11:59 AM on June 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


So, how about the Washington Dukes? (As in Ellington).

Duke is also a jock strap brand. But that still works.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 12:00 PM on June 13, 2013


As a lifelong Washington Football fan, I hate that the named hasn't changed yet.

Me too. I was really hoping they would change their name before I had to explain it to my kid, but it looks like that's not going to happen.
posted by callmejay at 12:08 PM on June 13, 2013


I'm surprised no one has lobbied for The Washington Senators.

- Name has a rich tradition in Washington, and somehow the Nationals decided they didn't want it, so it's totally available
- Name is totally scary and villianous
- You know that thing that they do at Nationals games, where they have the caricatured presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt run across the field? Who wouldn't pay to see grotesque recreations of Harry Reid, Al Franken, Orrin Hatch and Mitch McConnell running to the 50-yard line racing for a huge bag of fake lobbyist money. The real, shirtless Joe Biden could also take part.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:08 PM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I vote for The Washington Bad Brains

Think of the helmet design possibilities!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:09 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


the Redskins haven't been a "DC" team in a long, long time.

I really beg to differ on this. No team even comes close to being DC's team. The elation around the city is palpable when they are winning.

Anyway, for folks looking to read more on this controversy, ICTMN's Redskins tag is a great resource. Even the comments are (mostly) good, and show the diversity of thought on this issue, even among Native Americans.
posted by 0 at 12:09 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did I say Franken? Bad choice, Franken rules. Diane Feinstein for my second Democrat. Final answer.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:11 PM on June 13, 2013


PS: Great game last night. Keep feeding Crawford whatever the hell he's on.

Hopefully not the same stuff Don Cherry was on in the '70s.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:11 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I vote for The Washington Bad Brains

Think of the helmet design possibilities!


Yellow jersey, green pants, numbers in red with green outline, and the player's name in the classic Bad Brains typeface - red with green outline. Helmet: Black, capitol dome on one side, yellow lightning bolt arcing across from the other side with an explosion on top of the dome. That would be the most badass NFL uniform ever.
posted by The World Famous at 12:17 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


A collection of posts tagged "Indian mascots" on the fantastic Native Appropriations Blog.
posted by spitbull at 12:20 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Several years ago, I was sitting in the Ashburn 5 Guys and explaining to a friend that the name needed to change. I was going through my 3 favorite dumb-but-still-better-than-a-derogatory-epithet nicknames -- the Washington Management Consultants (MCs, if you are hip); the Washington Lobbyists (Lobby this!); the Washington Politicos (particularly apt in do-nothing pre-RGIII years) -- when they called my number. I turned around and there was Joe Gibbs 5 feet away looking at me like I was pond scum, and his flunkies were all looking at the ceiling or the floor or anywhere that wasn't at me.

I'm pretty sure I'm on some sort of blacklist at team HQ.

Of course, when my brother wanted a Washington scarf for Christmas around that time, I knit him one in burgundy and gold that spelled out Dan Snyder Ruined My Team and talked about it on the Internet, so I'm pretty sure I'd be scrubbed off any phonelist they devised to make sure they get an overwhelming support for keeping the name.
posted by julen at 12:51 PM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I tend to refer to the team in writing as the Washington R______s or, when I'm feeling unkind, the Washington Racists. Sometimes I call them the Washington @%. When I speak, I usually call them "that asshole Dan Snyder's team" or "the team from Washington."

No owner has treated his team's fans with less respect in recent years than Snyder (and there was some stiff competition in the "treat the fans like assholes" competition in the last two decades). It doesn't surprise me one jot that a rich dude who doesn't care about his customers would care so little about people who are even more abstract to him.

Goodell's typically milquetoast, mundanely racist support for Snyder surprises me. What's the worst Snyder can do to Goodell? Write him a strongly worded letter? Unsuccessfully sue him? No, I think Goodell is supporting Snyder because Goodell believes his own bullshit.

I wish some major figure in the sports or entertainment industry would take it upon him or her self to make this a major regular point of shaming. If ESPN, for example, started refusing to broadcast the team's name - and had their anchors make a point of pointing out to guests that they shouldn't say the team's name because its offensive - the odds of Snyder budging might significantly increase.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:14 PM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Synder's statement, "We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps" evokes George Wallace for me: "I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Just less poetic.

Also, few things make my eyes roll more vigorously than listening to privileged person tell marginalized ones that a term used to refer to them that they find offensive isn't offensive because the privileged person gets to decide how marginalized people should feel.
posted by DrMew at 1:20 PM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


The team's historical racism / commitment to not integrating is also the reason there's so many Cowboys fans in the area. So we have to suffer through that, too.
posted by inigo2 at 1:32 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know what the big deal is. Just say that your team is and always has been named after a potato.

Problem solved.
posted by NedKoppel at 1:35 PM on June 13, 2013


rocket88: "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Washington Fugazis"

Let's just acknowledge Football for being the violent sport that it is, and call the team "The Dismemberment Plan"
posted by schmod at 2:02 PM on June 13, 2013


My old roommate used to call them the Foreskins so as not to use the racial slur. I think that's got potential as a new name.
posted by ActionPopulated at 2:17 PM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Moleskines.
posted by spitbull at 2:25 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


spitbull, only if they move to Park Slope or Portland.
posted by grubi at 2:30 PM on June 13, 2013


Yeah DC is the Redskins town. The transplants love the Nats and the Caps, but natives only really care about the 'Skins.

Go count jerseys on grocery cashiers some Sunday.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:43 PM on June 13, 2013


No team even comes close to being DC's team. The elation around the city is palpable when they are winning.

Yeah, there's a DC-area sports talk radio station that got an interview with the Nationals' GM last year, when they were just about to make the playoffs for the very first time and there was finally some sort of enthusiasm around baseball in DC, and the very first question they asked him was how he thought RGIII would do for the Redskins in his rookie year. LaVar Arrington was OK for the team for a few years and he's more locally famous than Hall of Famers for the other DC teams.
posted by Copronymus at 2:43 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Washington also has a pretty strong foothold in the DC suburbs of Maryland (where there was no team for many years until the Ravens showed up, so Washington became the defacto choice, and was grandfathered to many of the children who grew up with parents who rooted for Washington), and Virginia, where there simply is no other team aside from college programs of varying skill.
posted by codacorolla at 2:52 PM on June 13, 2013


I don't know that cashier jersey counting is an accurate measure. When I filled that role I wore $LOCAL_UNIVERSITY gear even though I hated the the place. Bad team gear was still more comfortable than the otherwise required cashier uniform.
posted by Fezboy! at 3:01 PM on June 13, 2013


I'm surprised no one has lobbied for The Washington Senators.

Consider Washington has lost not one but two MLB teams going by that name I'd say there's no chance of that ever happening.

Me, I'm praying for the Landover Foreskinz.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 3:15 PM on June 13, 2013


Even if Snyder and the NFL have a change of heart and do replace the name with something inoffensive, there's still the risk of people trotting out the "retro" style and name. I think that Stanford Indian still makes an annual appearance, much like Chief Wahoo and the Brave's "face" cap.
posted by CancerMan at 3:19 PM on June 13, 2013


there's still the risk of people trotting out the "retro" style and name.

Landover Foreskinz memorabilia will never disappear from the Washington DC vortex so a name change isn't really going to change anything with the locals and Foreskinz fans. Racist? Sure. Will it die peacefully and not be an issue if there is a name change? Hell no.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 3:25 PM on June 13, 2013


I vote for the Washington Weishaupts, just to fuck with everyone's heads.
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:04 PM on June 13, 2013


No team even comes close to being DC's team. The elation around the city is palpable when they are winning.


Admittedly that hasn't been all that often, recently...*

But yeah, every fall, it's this absolute onslaught of maroon and gold on Facebook, even for people who haven't been back in DC since we graduated from high school. Forget the stockers at the grocery store: it's the cars and SUVs and motorcycles with flags and pennants and stickers in all the parking lots. When I hear about the Nats on Facebook, it's usually a) dollar hotdog day and b) instagrammed. When I hear about the Redskins on Facebook, it's the fifty year-old sports coach and my old high school nurse. And boy, do they care.


*disclaimer: washingtonian brought up in a staunchly black and gold Pittsburgh household
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:43 PM on June 13, 2013


Why would white middle-class male Americans care, though?

‘Cause they like to fight

Seriously tho, I dunno why people are so willing to enrage other people off over non-issues.
It doesn’t fundamentally matter what the team is named, the intrinsic function of being a sports team isn’t impaired, so why not go ahead and pick a name that doesn’t go out of its way to piss people off?

I think that’s the big thing. Not that you gotta have a dog in the fight, but just interested in peace and quiet on general principles.

“just put a fucking angry-looking bird of genus Accpiter with dark plumage on your jersey. A black Hawk, if you will.”

I’m a hawk fan and I’d be all for that.
All other considerations aside, a big side profile of a head – anyone’s head, no matter how fierce or good looking they are – with all kinds of funky detail on it looks more like something that came off a junior high school notebook.

Keep the team colors, big 86th infantry bird in clean lines, nasty faced, grasping a hockey stick in its claws, that'd be cool.
Maybe put some blood in there, show somebody gettin' hurt - a groin injury! And put a map of Madison and Damen in the background. Get some tits in! Put a liquor store stick up on the bottom. Beat the hell out of the side of the team bus with a sledgehammer while you're at it to make it look mean...

Just tryin' to capture the spirit of the thing.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:06 PM on June 13, 2013


I'm surprised no one has lobbied for The Washington Senators.

Maybe they could even use this to draw attention to the fact that DC doesn't even have senators of their own.
posted by inigo2 at 7:57 AM on June 14, 2013


Washington Wiretaps.

Alliterative even.
posted by edgeways at 8:52 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like the Wiretaps. Let's imagine some headlines!

"Patriots' Passing Game Eludes Wiretaps' Coverage"

"Wiretaps Pickup O-Line Help in Off Season Dragnet"

"Deep Analysis of Cowboys' Graph Helps 'Taps Snare Conference Title"

But I also still really like the Cherry Blossoms.

"Blossoms Running Game Blooms in Windy City Romp"

"Rainy Gameday Fumbles Dim Cherry Blossoms' Chances"

"Blossoms' 'Backer Battles Back from Blown Knee, Promises 'Pink' Playoffs"
posted by notyou at 9:10 AM on June 14, 2013


Nice, but we already have a team called the Cherry Blossom [Bombshells]
posted by exogenous at 9:14 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


The only thing I don't love about this article is that I didn't think to write it myself:

The Time Has Come For Dan Snyder To Change His Name
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:51 AM on June 28, 2013


Deadspin also had this article on the "Chief" the Snyderniks and NFL have been citing to prove that they are like, totally, not using a derogatory term: Redskins' Indian-Chief Defender: Not A Chief, Probably Not Indian
posted by julen at 12:26 PM on June 28, 2013


« Older The organizers of Riot Fest 2013 have announced th...  |  INFINITE is an amazing timelap... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments