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Washington Football Team
June 18, 2014 7:16 AM   Subscribe

U.S. Patent Office Cancels Trademark For Redskins Football Team. How will the ruling impact the name?

Bonus John Oliver

(previously)
posted by troika (292 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yay!
posted by 0 at 7:19 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


It's a start!
posted by barnacles at 7:21 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Holy shit.
posted by corb at 7:21 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I'm no marketing expert, but I gotta say, that 1 minute television spot should be taught as a case-study in advertising classes, because it is so fucking effective.
posted by Think_Long at 7:21 AM on June 18 [20 favorites]


Now everyone can make their own Washington [Slurs] merchandise!

huh.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:22 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Now I want some native group to start selling "F*** THE REDSKINS" gear outside every stadium they play in (especially their home stadium) just so I can imagine Snyder's head exploding at all the money he can't lay his hands on.
posted by Etrigan at 7:22 AM on June 18 [19 favorites]


This is a huge step forward. Yea, they will appeal - and while the appeal is ongoing, they still have exclusive right to the name. But oh boy, it's definitely a step in the right direction.
posted by gemmy at 7:22 AM on June 18


Good start. There'll probably be an appeal -- this happened once before, in 1992, and the decision was overturned on appeal. The plaintiffs say that in this new case they have fixed the grounds on which it was overturned.
posted by saturday_morning at 7:23 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


This has happened before, actually.

The Trial and Appeals Board previously rescinded the team’s trademark protections as part of a case filed in 1992. A federal court later overturned the ruling on appeal due to a technicality that the plaintiffs say has been fixed in this most recent case.

Let's hope this time it sticks.
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:23 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


This is great news from an unexpected (at least to me) source.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:23 AM on June 18


About time someone did something. Though sadly it looks like it will take hitting them in the wallet to get any change...still better than nothing I suppose...
posted by Captain_Science at 7:23 AM on June 18


Ah, double!
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:23 AM on June 18


I am a huge fan of my local team, and I couldn't be more thrilled to see progress in this direction. Onward!
posted by juliplease at 7:23 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


"F*** THE "

It might go nicely with my old "Dallas Sucks" shirt but I'd rather just not use the team name at all, even to say "Fuck em!" until it's changed.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:25 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


This seems to me to be a very strong statement by the Federal gov't that the team really needs to just give up on this name, already.
posted by xingcat at 7:27 AM on June 18


Wow. I didn't even know that this was a potential point of leverage. Nor did I know that fully half of the US senate had signed a letter urging a name change. I think the writing is on the wall for this, though clearly they can choose to drag it out for a long time yet.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:27 AM on June 18


#NelsonLaugh
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:28 AM on June 18 [11 favorites]


Yeah, this is a pretty great development in this story that, from my perspective anyway, came out of nowhere.
posted by gauche at 7:29 AM on June 18


I feel, maybe a bit naively, that there is some degree of momentum now building and while that a change is not imminent, there is a feel that it may not be all that far off.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:30 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I didn't even know that this was a potential point of leverage.

Me either, and it has me wondering - what else can the federal government do? Where/who should we be lobbying?
posted by troika at 7:30 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


yeh... "F*** the redskins" leaves too much room for abuse by assholes.
posted by lodurr at 7:30 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


About fucking time.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:33 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I'm curious: I could swear that sometime in the '90s, one of the D.C. radio stations decided that they couldn't say the team's name on the air because they had a policy against airing racial slurs. I think it may have been WTOP. They said "the Washington football team" for like a couple of years before changing their minds and going back to saying the team's name. Am I totally making that up?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:33 AM on June 18


Fuck the Redskins™
posted by Fizz at 7:35 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Between this and the head of the FCC saying he's not a dingo, I'm starting to wonder if John Oliver is the greatest force for positive politics in the US right now.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:35 AM on June 18 [24 favorites]


The "Washington Racial Slurs" has a nice ring to it.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:37 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


I'm just skimming, but the pertinent part (re laches) seems to begin on page 73 for anybody reading the PDF.
posted by cribcage at 7:38 AM on June 18


They said "the Washington football team" for like a couple of years before changing their minds and going back to saying the team's name. Am I totally making that up?

I don't know about that radio station specifically, but a number of prominent sports journalists have started doing this in recent years.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:39 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


kaibutsu: "Between this and the head of the FCC saying he's not a dingo, I'm starting to wonder if John Oliver is the greatest force for positive politics in the US right now."

The case took over a year, and the issue has been prominent in the news for about a year and a half. It seems unlikely that the trademark board suddenly saw the light because of John Oliver.

The commercial was really well done, though.
posted by zarq at 7:40 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


How about The Washington Gridlock for a new name?
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:40 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


The Washington Reformers

Or maybe the Scandals?
posted by zarq at 7:43 AM on June 18


If you want to play a fun game on twitter, might I suggest: #NewRedskinsName
posted by Fizz at 7:43 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


But how will this affect my Redskins beer koozie???

I'm not really a football fan, but I liked The Last Boy Scout so my vote is for the Washington Los Angeles Stallions.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:45 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


I really think it's time for sports media to decide that they won't use the term "redskins" any more. Just start referring to the "R******s" in print or the "Washington R-team" on the air.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:46 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


The Washington Slavers
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:46 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Or the Washington Rs, and their new mascot can be a pirate.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:47 AM on June 18 [24 favorites]


I grew up near DC and as a fan of this team, though I started drifting away from them after Theisman got broken.

I love the suggestion of renaming them the Pigskins. Maintains some continuity with the team's history, has to do with football, and subtly references the glory days of the Hogs.
posted by escabeche at 7:48 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


I vote for an animal mascot. Human or human-ish mascots are kind of weird, anyways. Is there a national team using Panthers? Although Walruses would alliterate, and they are quite ferocious despite their goofy looks, but no one is going to pick that.
posted by emjaybee at 7:48 AM on June 18


Is there a national team using Panthers?

Yes, the Carolina Panthers.
posted by troika at 7:50 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


I really think it's time for sports media to decide that they won't use the term "redskins" any more.

A number of journalists and organizations have already done this, including the San Francisco Chronicle, extremely influential SI reporter Peter King, Grantland founder Bill Simmons, Slate, and Rachel Maddow.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:50 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Someone once suggested the Washington Department of Football which will never work but I'd live it to stick.
posted by Carillon at 7:51 AM on June 18 [104 favorites]


> The Washington Reformers

The Washington Citizens For Better Football™.

The stadium is already Astroturfed, right?
posted by ardgedee at 7:52 AM on June 18 [17 favorites]


Yea, they will appeal

On May 13th the Federal Circuit (which hears appeals in these cases) upheld the Trademark Office's denial of federal registration for the mark STOP THE ISLAMISATION OF AMERICA on the grounds that it was disparaging to Muslims. In re Geller (yes, that Geller). That decision is only referenced in passing in Blackhorse v. Pro-Football (i.e. this case), possibly because most of Blackhorse had already been written by the time that Geller was decided. In any event, it tends to suggest that the Federal Circuit may be more receptive to the substance of the petitioners' claims.
posted by jedicus at 7:54 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


With a one-letter change and a move to a lizard mascot, we could have the Washington Red Skinks.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:54 AM on June 18 [20 favorites]


So, anybody more conversant with trademark than I am who can clarify? As I recall "can't be trademarked" does not generally mean "can't be used", but rather means "can't be protected" or "unauthorized uses can't be stopped"? (which, of course, means no business enterprise will use it, but that's a different issue). Does "can't be trademarked because it's disparaging" actually mean "cannot be used in business"?

I guess it does not matter, as this is pretty much an edict to change the name already, but as a point of law, I'm curious.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:54 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


What will really bring about the end of that name is bootleg merch now being perfectly legal. The NFL won't stand for that loss of revenue.

Is it just me or was the John Oliver-created ad, though, completely superfluous and not that funny?
posted by inturnaround at 7:56 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Yea, they will appeal

So not only are they racist shitbags, they're racist shitbags who are doubling down on their racist shitbaggery?

My vote for a new name: The Washington Apologies.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:56 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


So not only are they racist shitbags, they're racist shitbags who are doubling down on their racist shitbaggery?

AKA "Dan Snyder."
posted by nathancaswell at 7:57 AM on June 18 [11 favorites]


I vote for an animal mascot.

I almost hit a big rat on the Suitland Parkway last night. He really dodged me well, and he successfully held on tight to that bit of food he'd been eating as he scurried off the road back into the brush.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:57 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


crush-onastick, they can use it. They just don't hold the copyright to exclusively make the money.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:57 AM on June 18


The Washington Whiteys. Let's 180 this thing.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:58 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


DJ NDN from A Tribe Called Red recently got shit for wearing a t-shirt with a Cleveland Indians-like logo and "Caucasians" on it. Maybe they and the Atlanta Braves will be next. I hope they're shaking.

This is good.
posted by rtha at 7:58 AM on June 18


There's something delightfully ironic about the wordplay in declaring that Redskins is no longer an intellectual property.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:58 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Does "can't be trademarked because it's disparaging" actually mean "cannot be used in business"?

Can't be trademarked means only that. The First Amendment pretty much protects any name anyone wants to use for a business. I can't think of any execeptions. However, it doesn't mean that it can be protected by trademark.

So they can call themselves whatever they like. They can make money from it. They just can't prevent anyone else from using the name or the logo.
posted by inturnaround at 7:59 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Maybe they and the Atlanta Braves will be next.

The moniker "Cumberland Whites" has already been tossed around for the last few months down here given the recent decision of the team to move their stadium ten miles north to Cobb County because the season ticket holders are scared of black people.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:00 AM on June 18 [7 favorites]


The Washington Liberty

or

The Washington Libertarians
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:00 AM on June 18


Does the trademark for the name cover the logo? Or did that trademark get thrown out, too?
posted by mountmccabe at 8:00 AM on June 18


I believe they threw out the patent on the logo as well.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:02 AM on June 18


The "Washington Racial Slurs" has a nice ring to it.

I made this a while ago.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:02 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


So what's it going to take to remove the genocide guy from the $20 bill?
posted by Nelson at 8:03 AM on June 18 [24 favorites]


FWIW, appealing a case like this is pro-forma. They could give up on the appeal at any time to engage damage control mode, but until then I'm sure they're trying to prevent a bleed-out from their licensing revenue stream.
posted by lodurr at 8:04 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Does the trademark for the name cover the logo? Or did that trademark get thrown out, too?

It includes the name WASHINGTON REDSKINS, REDSKINS, their old school Chief Logo, the REDSKINETTES (presumably their cheerleading squad name), and a couple combinations of those words and logos in different stylized manners (like written in script).
posted by inturnaround at 8:05 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


(Trademark. All of this is about trademarks, not patents.)
posted by kmz at 8:06 AM on June 18 [7 favorites]


(Probably they are dicks, and probably they will coninue the appeal until the bitter end, but I just wanted to point out that it was probably an automatic decision on financial grounds.)
posted by lodurr at 8:06 AM on June 18


> As I recall "can't be trademarked" does not generally mean "can't be used", but rather means "can't be protected" or "unauthorized uses can't be stopped"? (which, of course, means no business enterprise will use it, but that's a different issue).

Loosening protection on the name reduces its licensability (since I wouldn't have to pay them to use their name on the T-shirts I'm selling). I don't think they stand to lose huge dollars, though, since associated imagery, NFL logos, and so on are still protected and are considered value-adds in marketing. So I think the financial impact is overstated. At the same time I suspect it's going to lead to a name-change just because the pro sports industry's control-freakery simply can't accommodate being responsible for anything they can't fully control legally.
posted by ardgedee at 8:06 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Sorry, which Washington is this? Man what a daft situation.

With the renaming, they should either go far out and call themselves something like the Washington Wallabies, or the Washington Wayfarers, or (if DC) go political, and call themselves the Washington Senators.

If its the state, they could go for Not Seattle.
posted by marienbad at 8:07 AM on June 18


kmz, thanks for the correction.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:07 AM on June 18


Hail to the PTO and a big ol' raspberry for Dan Snyder.
posted by sallybrown at 8:08 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


The Washington Congress
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:10 AM on June 18


They should honestly call themselves the Washington Hogs. There's already a history of that since the 80s and people dressing themselves up like such. Then you can rewrite the song to be "Hail to the Pork Rinds".
posted by inturnaround at 8:10 AM on June 18


(As I figure The Washington Lobbyists would be just a wee bit too much on the nose)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:10 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I would think a complete re-branding would have a massive payoff not just in goodwill but in merchandising. I know my hockey team changes their jersey every three years and rakes in the profits. Changing their name and logo means getting to sell all-new everything. Makes good business sense even if they don't care about the racist angle, which they clearly don't.

Washington Warheads, Warriors, Warships, Whispers, Wings, Wolves, Wyverns, Whatever. Pick one and make your easy millions, Mr. Snyder.
posted by GrapeApiary at 8:11 AM on June 18


I'm sorry, Redskinettes? Seriously? Do they wear leather fringe and feathers in their hair, just to add insult to injury?

That just makes me want to bang my head on the table.
posted by suelac at 8:11 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


The Washington Peckerwoods
posted by vorpal bunny at 8:11 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


What will really bring about the end of that name is bootleg merch now being perfectly legal

That's an interesting point. I'm guessing, though, that there are other elements on the jersey like the NFL logo that prohibit that from happening.

Even if it was just the logo, ICE would probably continue to find a reason to confiscate them anyway, especially if the NFL asks them nicely.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:12 AM on June 18


*snerk*
posted by zennie at 8:13 AM on June 18


'Senators' is already taken (though there is precedent for having baseball and football teams from the same city using the same name).

I'm surprised 'Bureaucrats' wasn't someone's first pick.

I'll just toss out 'Supremes,' 'Interns' [old-joke-apology /], 'Congresscritters' (or just 'Critters'), 'Leeches', or 'Lobbyists'. ('Congress' does has teh potential for some mildly bawdy humor...)

If they want to go all USFL on it they could be the 'Justice', the 'Freedom', or some other abstract noun. We all know how much Washington loves abstract nouns...
posted by lodurr at 8:14 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I really think it's time for sports media to decide that they won't use the term "redskins" any more.

A number of journalists and organizations have already done this, including the San Francisco Chronicle, extremely influential SI reporter Peter King, Grantland founder Bill Simmons, Slate, and Rachel Maddow.


More importantly for many locals, the one and only Jim Vance came out against it.
posted by sallybrown at 8:15 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


The Washington Whiteys. Let's 180 this thing.

I recently learned that Wasi'chu is a derogatory term for non-Indians, especially whites, in the Lakota/Dakota language.
IPA: /waˈʃi.tʃũ/

1. white person, Caucasian, white people
2. greedy person, dishonorable person
Sounds about right.
posted by desjardins at 8:19 AM on June 18 [10 favorites]


More importantly for many locals, the one and only Jim Vance

& Doc Walker sneakily calling them (only) "the Burgundy & Gold" back in the day.
posted by 0 at 8:20 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Some name ideas:

Pork Barrels
Monuments
Freedom
Spinners
posted by nubs at 8:21 AM on June 18


We all know how much Washington loves abstract nouns...

The Washington War on Terror

(The mascot "Droney" would fly around the stadium firing t-shirts at lucky fans)
posted by vorpal bunny at 8:22 AM on June 18 [10 favorites]


Hey, now, nubs: the Spinners are a perfectly nice minor league baseball team in Massachusetts!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:23 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Assuage the pissed off conservative fans and follow Dave Weigel's idea to call them the Reagans.
posted by drezdn at 8:23 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


'Senators' is already taken (though there is precedent for having baseball and football teams from the same city using the same name).

Is it? I mean, there's the Ottawa Senators but not only is it a different sport it's a different country altogether.
posted by kmz at 8:23 AM on June 18


In one of the earlier threads about this (I'm at work, so I don't have time to look for it), somebody posited the idea of changing the name to The Washington Red Tails, which would enable them to keep their current unifirm color scheme (more or less) and honor a minority group (the Tuskegee Airmen). The helmet logo could be one of their P51 Mustangs.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:24 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


The Washington Warlords
posted by Sys Rq at 8:24 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


This was my favorite sly part of the opinion, quoting from an expert report in the case, for all those still claiming it's not a racial slur:

It should be noted that there is another meaning for redskin descriptive of a variety of potato. In the case of the potato it is because of its color. In the case of the people living in North America upon the arrival of Europeans it was likewise based upon appearance.
posted by sallybrown at 8:24 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure they're going to change their name to the Washington Fuckallayouguys. It just rolls off the tongue.
posted by happyroach at 8:25 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Real questions:
I saw upthread someone hoping for the end of the team name "Braves" as well.
Is there any consensus on what native-American team names are derogatory?
Braves?
Indians?
Chiefs or Chieftains?

Enlighten me.
posted by cccorlew at 8:26 AM on June 18


I'm pretty sure they're going to change their name to the Washington Fuckallayouguys. It just rolls off the tongue.

The Washington Rebel Flags
posted by hydrophonic at 8:28 AM on June 18


Call yourselves the Skins, going back to the day when football games were skins versus shirts.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:28 AM on June 18


I suppose Washington Human Beings is a non-starter.
posted by logicpunk at 8:30 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


The cancelled marks don't cover merchandise, but instead are all for entertainment services such as presenting football games. This is covered in the decision itself (embedded Scribd).
posted by exogenous at 8:30 AM on June 18


The Washington Bullets is available. It's tanned, rested, and ready to play.
posted by Naberius at 8:32 AM on June 18 [11 favorites]


My vote is for the Washington Partisans. Uniforms would be red on the right, blue on the left, and running out the clock at the end of the game would be called filibustering.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:32 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


I second the vote for the Pigskins. Bring back the Hogettes!
posted by sallybrown at 8:34 AM on June 18


Washington Insiders ?
posted by Westringia F. at 8:34 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


Washington Representatives, to go alongside the Senators. Bonus: You can really leverage "Defend our House" for the stadium.

Or: Grab a can of paint and cram in an extra K, switch to a lizard mascot, and boom, Washington Red Skinks.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:38 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


suelac: yeah, 'Redskinettes' is the name of the cheerleading squad; and even worse, you ask about do they wear fringe and feathers in their hair? Well, no feathers, but their official cheerleading outfit does have fringe: think of a fringed white leather-look bikini with a teensy tiny vest.....

(And honestly, doesn't Dan Snyder see the handwriting on the wall? He's gonna lose this, sooner or later, so why not give in semi-gracefully now and start selling a ton of new-team-name and new-logo merchandise? It's not like him to miss a money-making opportunity!)
posted by easily confused at 8:39 AM on June 18


Actually, "Washington Warthogs" has a nice ring to it, and with the Hogettes connection it'd be a decent counter to arguments that the name change was abandoning the team's legacy.

It was apparently an indoor soccer league in the 90's, but I don't imagine there'd be much confusion in people's minds.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:40 AM on June 18


Tomorrowful: " Or: Grab a can of paint and cram in an extra K, switch to a lizard mascot, and boom, Washington Red Skinks."

Great Googly Moogly!
posted by zarq at 8:41 AM on June 18 [7 favorites]


YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:41 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Real questions:
I saw upthread someone hoping for the end of the team name "Braves" as well.
Is there any consensus on what native-American team names are derogatory?
Braves?
Indians?
Chiefs or Chieftains?

Enlighten me.


All of them. Reducing a whole race of people to stock stereotypes and depicting them as cartoons is bad. Non-Native fans showing up in war paint and war bonnets is bad. The Tomahawk Chop is bad. I hope these are all pretty dang obvious DON'Ts to most people.

The Blackhawks may be the only exception, on account of they're named after a specific individual who is worth naming stuff after, but that's just the name; there's still a lot of really offensive shit going on there in the periphery.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:41 AM on June 18 [26 favorites]


Is there any consensus on what native-American team names are derogatory?
Nobody else uses an outright slur as the name (although the Indians' mascot, oy) but if you're using an entire ethnic group as your mascot, you should maybe think about that more. The San Francisco (for instance) Chinese People wouldn't fly no matter how respectful the terminology.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:41 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


In a way, the PTO is doing the Football Team a favor here and given them a way to climb off the limb.

"We were gonna stick to our guns, but the lawyers and liberal elite judges!"

I think they'll grab it.
posted by notyou at 8:43 AM on June 18


Well, the Fighting Irish is the counter-example to "no entire ethnic group," but yeah it has an obvious response of "it's ok if it's your own group".
posted by 0 at 8:45 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


The Blackhawks may be the only exception, on account of they're named after a specific individual who is worth naming stuff after

They're actually named after an infantry division from WWI that was named after Black Hawk.
posted by Hoopo at 8:45 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


The San Francisco (for instance) Chinese People wouldn't fly no matter how respectful the terminology

Yeah but for a 1:1 comparison it would be the San Francisco Chinks. Unfortunately I think the Venn diagram of people who don't understand that either 'Redskin' or 'Chink' is offensive is basically a perfect circle.

oh but racism is dead in the usa right
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:45 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Bonus: This is one of those links that, when shared on Facebook, unveils the secret racist asshats that you and/or your friends may know.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:49 AM on June 18 [12 favorites]


I'm far from the most pc guy in the world, but it's time to change it. Unlike the Fightin' Irish or the Blachawks, there's no ambiguity here. It's a slur.
posted by jonmc at 8:50 AM on June 18


What was the name of that thing recently where all the money ran out and the two sides couldn't reach agreement? They should name themselves after that. Or maybe after the effects of it: The Washington Furlough.
posted by marienbad at 8:50 AM on June 18


And fuck the Blackhawks until they get rid of the Native imagery on their uniforms/in their logo.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:50 AM on June 18


The Washington Sequestrators!
posted by elsietheeel at 8:51 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


Braves doesn't strike me as being as bad as Indians (whereby the team is just sort of named after a race) or Redskins (which is the same except their name is also a slur). Braves feels more like naming your (American) team the Berserkers or, I don't know, the Samurai or something - warriors known for their prowess but with a connotation of being tied to a specific culture that would be, in the case of an American sports team, more inexplicable than harmful. Only as far as team names, I think of it as being eyeroll stupid instead of your team's name is a slur, what the fuck is wrong with you stupid.

Note that I say only as far as team names, because while I don't find the name itself to be as big of an issue, even a team named the Samurai which treated its inspiration respectfully would still have fans doing horrible racist shit. In a vacuum I don't mind the name but in context it's still pretty crappy.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:53 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


Also, how'd they pick that name in the first place? All the other DC teams the Senators, the Capitols and sadly the Bullets made sense in context. Not this.
posted by jonmc at 8:53 AM on June 18


Sys Rq: "All of them"

The word "chief" isn't necessarily racist. and the Kansas City team....
The name of the Kansas City Chiefs is not a reference to American Indian tribal leaders; it is instead a reference to Kansas City’s popular mayor Harry ‘Chief’ Bartle. In 1962, then Mayor Bartle was able to secure an American Football team for Kansas City. In 1962 it was a major achievement for a city the size of Kansas City to have a football franchise. It was in his honor that the new team adopted his nickname as their team name. That being said, the team does use an arrow head design as their logo. I find that inconsistent with the history of the team’s name. I certainly could understand how an American Indian viewing their logo could interpret it as racist.
Eliminate the logo, never again use racist mascots like 'Warpaint' and the team could conceivably keep the name and not be considered racist.
posted by zarq at 8:53 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Yeah but for a 1:1 comparison it would be the San Francisco Chinks. Unfortunately I think the Venn diagram of people who don't understand that either 'Redskin' or 'Chink' is offensive is basically a perfect circle.

This issue with changing a restaurant name boggled my mind. People really, really hate it when racist old names get changed. Because TRADITION I guess. Some traditions are stupid!
posted by Drinky Die at 8:55 AM on June 18


Washington Leadskins, and change the mascot to a robot
posted by 23skidoo at 8:56 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


It would be the most appropriate name in a way, but in another way it would be kinda... mean to suggest Washington Generals. It's not an official name of any pro team, just the most famous team that nobody wants to win.

I guess they still play, but haven't seen much of them in a while ... Then again, does anyone under 35 remember Curly Neal?
posted by krinklyfig at 8:56 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


a way to climb off the limb.

This is a minor point, but what limb? They have had consistently high attendance figures for years and are one of the most valuable franchises in the league. Every poll I've ever seen showed a high level of support for keeping the name.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 8:56 AM on June 18


Is it just me or was the John Oliver-created ad, though, completely superfluous and not that funny?

John Oliver didn't create that ad, that is an actual ad created by the Native American council (can't recall the name of the coalition, it's at the end of the ad) to highlight the offensiveness of this professional sports team name. It's not meant to be funny, it's meant to point out that--for those too obtuse to realize it already--the term 'redskin' is a racial slur.

What I really like about this controversy and the increasing pressure being brought to bear on this business to change their mascot name, is that we seem FINALLY to be moving past a set of excuses for racist/sexist/etc. speech and behavior, and that's the "but I don't think it's offensive, and am not trying to be offensive by using this word, so YOU are being overly-sensitive and should just get over it" line of defense. It's such a bullshit, paternalistic and patronizing response that further dehumanizes the persons being offended, and people use it as a defense all the time (like Snyder and his organization). I'm glad to finally see it losing some of its effectiveness.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:56 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Also, how'd they pick that name in the first place? All the other DC teams the Senators, the Capitols and sadly the Bullets made sense in context. Not this.

Wiki: The team originated as the Boston Braves, based in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1932. At the time the team played in Braves Field, home of the Boston Braves baseball team. The following year the club moved to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, whereupon owners changed the team's name to the Boston Redskins.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:57 AM on June 18


The Blackhawks are no exception.

That infantry division, BTW, featured a bird on its insignia, and not a cigar store Indian. So they've got an easy out, too.
posted by notyou at 8:57 AM on June 18


It would be the most appropriate name in a way, but in another way it would be kinda... mean to suggest Washington Generals. It's not an official name of any pro team, just the most famous team that nobody wants to win.

As long as Snyder's in charge, that name would be entirely apt.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:58 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Well, the Fighting Irish is the counter-example to "no entire ethnic group," but yeah it has an obvious response of "it's ok if it's your own group".

It's not that. It's that the Irish are not an oppressed group. There are no/few widely-held negative stereotypes of Irish or Scandinavians (except perhaps that the Irish are drunks, but that doesn't seem to affect the group's prosperity).

Native Americans, by contrast, have the stereotype of being lazy, shiftless drunks who sponge off the federal government and get rich off of white gamblers. They're already "othered," the Washington team's name just adds more insult to injury.
posted by desjardins at 8:59 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Uh, I meant to include "Minnesota Vikings" as an example in my comment, which is why I mentioned Scandinavians.
posted by desjardins at 9:03 AM on June 18


"The "Washington Racial Slurs" has a nice ring to it."

It's "the Washington Racists." If you need a gerund: "the Washington Dissembling Racists."
posted by klangklangston at 9:03 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


There are Native American schools that use Redskins as their mascot, desjardins, and that's ok in my book. But, yeah, both angles are good points.
posted by 0 at 9:04 AM on June 18


The Spokane Indians are an example of how the name "Indians" can be used respectfully. They've gone so far as to have their logo in the Salish language.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:04 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


Is it just me or was the John Oliver-created ad, though, completely superfluous and not that funny?

John Oliver didn't create that ad, that is an actual ad created by the Native American council (can't recall the name of the coalition, it's at the end of the ad) to highlight the offensiveness of this professional sports team name


I think iturnaround was referring to the second ad, involving cauliflower and camping, which I'm pretty sure John Oliver and his staff made.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:04 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


On Twitter, one @TheOdalisque notes that much of the Redskins problem could be solved quickly if they just changed the mascot to a potato.
posted by eriko at 9:05 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


LANDOVER FORESKINZ or GTFO.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 9:06 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


This is a bit of a derail, but the Fighting Irish name originally came from an Irish-American college president who served in the Union Army.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:08 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Someone once suggested the Washington Department of Football which will never work but I'd live it to stick.

It was COD who suggested The Washington Department of Football Services
posted by oulipian at 9:09 AM on June 18 [11 favorites]


I'm a hockey fan in Chicago and would prefer if the 'hawks just straight up changed their name or at least logo to Hawks. Thankfully their costumed mascot at games is in fact a hawk and not a super-offensive Native American caricature. I've also never seen idiot dudebros dressing up in headdresses and doing tomahawk chop-motions at games, but just because I haven't seen it doesn't mean it hasn't happened. There are a lot of "but it's different because..." arguments regarding the team, but if they just changed the logo no one would even have to make those (interesting historically but not 100% compelling) arguments.
posted by misskaz at 9:09 AM on June 18


Real questions:
I saw upthread someone hoping for the end of the team name "Braves" as well.
Is there any consensus on what native-American team names are derogatory?
Braves?
Indians?
Chiefs or Chieftains?

Enlighten me.


For a good comparison, see the AFC Ajax fans, aka The Superjews.

The name itself is not derogatory (setting aside the issue of whether or not it's a slur to call someone a Jew; see It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia for a funny version of that debate), but once you get all of these non-Jewish people up in the stands dancing to Hava Nagila and chanting "Joden, joden" it gets a little...unnerving. Especially since we're talking about the same city where Anne Frank lived. Here's the trailer for a documentary about them. (In Dutch, but you can get the general idea)

It's been my experience that when Americans see videos of the Ajax fans going at it, they go "OOOH, so that's the issue with Native American-themed sports teams", but YMMV, obviously.
posted by damayanti at 9:10 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


It's not that. It's that the Irish are not an oppressed group. There are no/few widely-held negative stereotypes of Irish or Scandinavians (except perhaps that the Irish are drunks, but that doesn't seem to affect the group's prosperity).

Wait, is that really it? I thought the major difference here is/was that the rank discrimination against Irish Catholics in the 19th century was the impetus for the team name.

The reason Fighting Irish is celebrated and Redskins isn't is because the former was a decision by Notre Dame to use the name as a celebration of their base against the rancor facing it, versus teams using Native names because a bunch of white guys thought native tribes were synonymous with savages.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:12 AM on June 18 [8 favorites]


it is instead a reference to Kansas City’s popular mayor Harry ‘Chief’ Bartle. In 1962, then Mayor Bartle was able to secure an American Football team for Kansas City. In 1962 it was a major achievement for a city the size of Kansas City to have a football franchise. It was in his honor that the new team adopted his nickname as their team name.

The arrowhead is a little too cute, though. Anyone who didn't know the history would easily assume it refers to that particular cultural reference, although the nickname was inspired by Mayor Bartle, but you kinda have to look up the team history to make that connection.

Anyway, it's more amusing thinking of the mascot being a mayor instead of some stereotype. The team is really embodying the spirit of a politician, which honestly wouldn't stand a chance against Viking raiders, lions or even dolphins. I could see a team of mayors dominating the browns.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:13 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


The USPTO has provided a "media fact sheet" about this decision, because it knows that the press will inevitably get this wrong by (a) talking about patents and (b) inferring that this means the team can't use the name (this has nothing to do with use, just registration).
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:14 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Just think, if he'd been around a half-century ago we might have had Grey Cup winner Toronto Fords.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:17 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


For big branding bucks: The Washington Panda Bears. Keep the team colors and make Rusty the mascot. (http://wapo.st/1a4CrOL)

For patriotism: The Washington Veterans

For snark: The Washington Taxed and Unrepresenteds
posted by Skwirl at 9:30 AM on June 18


The PTO fact sheet indicates any appeal would go to either the Federal Circuit or the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia: "Before 2011, the district court in the District of Columbia had jurisdiction over such actions, but Congress changed that provision of the Trademark statute when making various amendments to the Patent statute."

This is important: the courts that would hear an appeal of this decision are not the same courts that reviewed the earlier Harjo decision. In Harjo, the District Court for the District of Columbia heard the initial appeal and overturned the cancellation on two grounds: (1) the name wasn't disparaging; and (2) laches (plaintiffs waited too long after turning 18 to bring their case). The case got kicked back and forth on the laches issue, but ultimately, the D.C. Circuit upheld the decision to overturn the cancellation on the basis of laches and never discussed disparagement. There is no similar laches problem with these plaintiffs and Trademark Board clearly took a lot of time and detail to cement its opinion of disparagement, so many of us have been predicting this cancellation would be upheld rather than overturned, not realizing the jurisdiction change here.

But that may be a different story if the case gets punted to E.D. Virginia (whose decision would be appealed to the Fourth Circuit, not the DC Circuit). Those courts are generally considered more conservative than the DDC/DC Circuit (although things have been changing). E.D. Virginia is also famously known as the "rocket docket" for the speed with which it processes cases.
posted by sallybrown at 9:32 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


The Washington Rebels?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:32 AM on June 18


The Washington Obstructionists.
posted by absalom at 9:33 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


a t-shirt with a Cleveland Indians-like logo and "Caucasians" on it

Which can be purchased from Shelf Life, in case that was your first question (as it was mine)
posted by RogerB at 9:33 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


The Washington Congresscritters.
posted by easily confused at 9:34 AM on June 18


The Washington Committees
posted by Big_B at 9:35 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


My understanding is that the name will be the Washington Bravehearts. The trademark was quietly issued last year to someone affiliated with Snyder. The only thing holding them back has been that they make a shitload of money off the existing trademark licenses. They don't think they will be able to get the same premium for a new name. If they can't get a stay pending appeal on the trademark ruling; they will change the name this summer. The whole business of saying "I'll never change the name" has just been a cynical appeal to fans and motivated by the desire to keep those premium licensing deals going as long as possible.
posted by humanfont at 9:36 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


That is... a terrible name for a sportsball team. Just awful.

One also wonders whether Mel Gibson &co would have something to say about it. I understand one is a movie and one is baseball and they are unlikely to be confused so it's on the up-and-up but one could, I think, see a credible legal argument that both are entertainment, so confusion is possible.

Especially if fans start showing up painted with woad.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:40 AM on June 18


Last December I asked some friends for some guesses for what they think would happen during 2014 and made a predictions league. Like a death pool, but less morbid. Someone submitted, as a longshot (double points!) "The Washington Redskins will hold a contest to choose a new name, and one of the finalists will be just as offensive." I think she might have something there.
posted by troika at 9:40 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


The Wahington Gridlock
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:42 AM on June 18


Washington Whips.

Think of the marketing opportunities.
posted by yoink at 9:42 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Does the NFL have power over the new name? I too think whatever Snyder comes up with will be something offensive or otherwise bad, but perhaps the NFL can veto it?
posted by sallybrown at 9:43 AM on June 18


The Blackhawks are no exception.

Not saying they are an exception, just a bit of trivia.

The Leafs' fans actually try to say something similar about a WWI regiment to excuse the grammatical error involved in the plural of Leaf, but they are wrong. There was no such "Maple Leaf" regiment. In fact the regiment had the nickname "Maple Leaves". And there was a Maple Leafs baseball team in Toronto (and in Hamilton apparently) that predates WWI by quite a while that had the same name.
posted by Hoopo at 9:43 AM on June 18


Aarrigaa! (Iñupiaq for "f***ing awesome.")
posted by spitbull at 9:43 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Although perhaps "Washington Speakers" would be better. They could sell little gavels for the fans to pound a la the Braves' "tomahawk chop."
posted by yoink at 9:47 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


So what's it going to take to remove the genocide guy from the $20 bill?
posted by Nelson


I've posted this before in related threads but it's so good I want more people to see it:

Red Eagle, "High Above the Clouds."

I cued it to the relevant verse, but go back and watch it all if you're even slightly interested in Native American hip hop and youth culture.

Red Eagle is led by Jesse Robbins (Choctaw).
posted by spitbull at 9:52 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


My understanding is that the name will be the Washington Bravehearts.

Am I missing a joke here? That is almost inconceivably bad. Were there other Care Bear or My Little Pony names considered? If it was anyone other than Snyder, I'd know for sure it was not true, but...
posted by Rock Steady at 9:52 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Does the NFL have power over the new name?

The impression I've got from Roger Goddell's comments is that he doesn't think they do. He's always said changing the name is Snyder's decision (while hinting it may be a good idea), so I'd think he would be consistent with that regarding a new name. It does seem like the other owners should have some say though.

Have I mentioned how fucking excited I am!?
posted by 0 at 9:52 AM on June 18


Washington Wingnuts
posted by krinklyfig at 9:53 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


The [Bravehearts] trademark was quietly issued last year to someone affiliated with Snyder.

This is not really true. It was issued to a neighbor of Snyder, but both sides deny any involvement with each other.
posted by 0 at 9:54 AM on June 18


AGREE WITH ABOVE, EASIEST NAME IN THE WORLD: PIGSKINS

Everyone in DC calls them the Skins anyways
Fans have been dressing as hogs for decades
Keep the colors, mascot becomes a warthog.


HOW IS THIS SO COMPLICATED?!?
posted by slapshot57 at 9:54 AM on June 18 [16 favorites]


Redhawks.
posted by 0 at 9:55 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


There was no such "Maple Leaf" regiment. In fact the regiment had the nickname "Maple Leaves"

This is interestinging linguistically. "Leafs" works as a team name to me and leaves doesn't. Maybe it's just because I'm already familiar with it.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:55 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Call 'em the Washington Sentinels like The Replacements did.
posted by evoque at 9:57 AM on June 18


Who is Maple and why are they leaving Toronto?
posted by kmz at 9:57 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


The impression I've got from Roger Goddell's comments is that he doesn't think they do. He's always said changing the name is Snyder's decision (while hinting it may be a good idea), so I'd think he would be consistent with that regarding a new name. It does seem like the other owners should have some say though.

If they lose the registration he's going to come down on Snyder like a ton of bricks, though. All that merchandise revenue!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:58 AM on June 18


Sys Rq: "The Blackhawks may be the only exception"

The Seminole tribe endorses Florida State using their name, as well as using Chief Osceola (and his horse Renegade) as their on-field mascot
posted by I am the Walrus at 9:59 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


The University of Utah Utes also have tribal approval.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:04 AM on June 18


USPTO fact sheet on the decision (2 page PDF)
posted by exogenous at 10:05 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


They have a ready made mascot/team name in The Washington Vultures!
posted by TwoWordReview at 10:06 AM on June 18


Who is Maple and why are they leaving Toronto?

Shame over 50+ years of not winning the Stanley Cup.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:06 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


The team's statement:

. . . We are confident we will prevail once again, and that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s divided ruling will be overturned on appeal. This case is no different than an earlier case, where the Board cancelled the Redskins’ trademark registrations, and where a federal district court disagreed and reversed the Board. . . .
posted by sallybrown at 10:10 AM on June 18


AGREE WITH ABOVE, EASIEST NAME IN THE WORLD: PIGSKINS

Or...Washington Foreskins--you keep the 'Skins nickname, and gain all kinds of wonderful headlines.

"Foreskins Come Up Short."

"Mo' Hell for the Foreskins!"

"Foreskins Penetrate Cowboy Defense!"
posted by yoink at 10:12 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Yeah but so few Americans actually have foreskins, it'll be too foreign.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:16 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


If you're going to go with the FORESKINZ name, which I wholeheartedly support, change the city name to reflect their forever home - LANDOVER. LANDOVER FORESKINZ is just perfect for Little Danny Snyder and that terrible, terrible team.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 10:17 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Surely you mean that kickass, kickass team.
posted by 0 at 10:20 AM on June 18


Or maybe the Scandals?

zarq, the Scandals are one of DC's gay rugby teams.* And apparently (in the singular) a women's ultimate team.

*I've heard, though, that the Renegades have gone mostly hetero. Thanks, Obama!
posted by psoas at 10:20 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


And with "Foreskins" you could still keep some of the potential "Braveheart" marketing ideas. Hows this for a team slogan/crowd chant:

"You can take our balls, but you'll never take our Foreskins!"
posted by yoink at 10:22 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


desjardins: "It's not that. It's that the Irish are not an oppressed group. There are no/few widely-held negative stereotypes of Irish or Scandinavians (except perhaps that the Irish are drunks, but that doesn't seem to affect the group's prosperity). "

Let us point out, however, that the punching little Leprechaun logo resembles "no dogs or Irishmen"-era caricatures of the Irish as more monkey than human, and -- stereotypically -- known as prone to fighting. And there are some (not many, but a few) people affiliated with the university who are uncomfortable with it because of that history and/or because they're not delighted to have an ethnic group used as a sports team name.

But yeah, the Notre Dame "Fighting Irish" is a reclaiming of a negative stereotype (but not a slur per se) by (the children of) the group the slur was used against; Irish-Americans remain the largest ethnic group at Notre Dame (still!); the University has a good relationship with Ireland and has taken input from the country on the mascot (they're not bothered at present); and in the past 20 years or so the University's been fairly conscious of the racial and ethnic issues around having "Fighting Irish" as a mascot and has policed those boundaries fairly actively. Which is all rather different than Dan Snyder and his football team.

(Also, when push comes to shove, Notre Dame's emotional identity is more tied up in the Virgin Mary and more of your University communications are signed, "Yours in Our Lady, President Guy" and not "Go Irish! -President Guy." I think that renders it a bit less of an emotional issue than some college mascot things have been.)

I think the appropriateness of the "Fighting Irish" and "Ragin' Cajuns" as mascots is something we should think about, consider, and discuss, and not just dismiss as "it's okay when white people do it" or "those people aren't oppressed," when we talk about sports mascots. I think the majority of people are okay with those two, but there are reasons why people think they're mostly okay, and reasons why people might be uncomfortable with them, and thinking about those and talking about them can help us clarify our thinking about these issues. And I also think it's okay to have multiple feelings at once -- I'm an ND alum, I'm fine with the mascot, I'm partly of Irish descent ... but I also feel a teeeeeeeny bit uncomfortable about it and I think my great-grandfather would not have been a fan. It's okay to feel two things at once and admit ambivalence!

---

I would cheer SO HARD for the Washington Department of Football Services. SO HARD.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:24 AM on June 18 [16 favorites]


Washington Secret Society

I really like the way that sounds, but it's a little too arch for a football team. Even so, it would bring a lot of new fans, and a bonus of a really weird but ferociously loyal crowd at the home games. I'm thinking silence in the stands, long stretches of uncomfortable tension while everyone in the crowd attempts not to stare at each other, and furtive bursts of cheering at inappropriate moments. Also, Google Glass.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:25 AM on June 18


Am I missing a joke here? That is almost inconceivably bad.

Beh. I have heard worse names for a football team.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:33 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I don't really understand why you wouldn't change the name at this point (or if you're smart some time before this point).

As has been mentioned before:
a) They will eventually lose. It's not like if they hang on long enough everyone will start getting more racist (at least I hope not)

b) If you change the name and branding you'll maybe lose some fans but you'll gain a lot more.

c) Rebranding means new uniforms, new merchandise, opportunity for new sponsorships, tons of money. Also you can have a firesale on your old stuff or keep it for 20 years in a basement and then sell it as vintage collectibles.

The upside to not doing it? I just don't see.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:36 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


The other day, I'm debating the name with my friend on Facebook. She's s huge fan. One of her friends, also a fan, dressed me down. According to him, I'm a white man making controversy where none exists. His grandmother, he tells me, was native American and she called herself that and hearing the team name makes him feel closer to her. He tells me that this is entirely about white people trying to take something away from him. "You've taken everything else and you have no pony in this, so please just let us have this. "

He goes on to tell me that Cleveland and Atlanta both do have racist team names and I do have a pony in those debates because those teams name and mascots are just flat out racist.

Bottom line: I have a pony.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:36 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I look forward to how sport franchise naming will play out in the NHL once Quebec separates.
posted by srboisvert at 10:41 AM on June 18


If they lose the registration he's going to come down on Snyder like a ton of bricks, though. All that merchandise revenue!

I know for a fact they Goodell & Snyder already had this meeting over the winter; The NFL would be just as glad to put this whole thing behind them and would welcome a name change. The Bravehearts name was already "parked" by a Snyder associate; this decision by the Patent Office just indicates that the name will be changing sooner rather than later. This upcoming season may very well be the last one we see Washingtom under their current moniker.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:49 AM on June 18


rtha: "DJ NDN from A Tribe Called Red recently got shit for wearing a t-shirt with a Cleveland Indians-like logo and "Caucasians" on it. Maybe they and the Atlanta Braves will be next. I hope they're shaking."

I own that shirt. You can get it here.
posted by scrump at 10:52 AM on June 18


The stadium is already Astroturfed, right?

No it's not. It is a grass field, and poorly maintained. It is also the probable cause for RGIII's knee problems.
posted by LizBoBiz at 10:58 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


"For big branding bucks: The Washington Panda Bears. Keep the team colors and make Rusty the mascot. (http://wapo.st/1a4CrOL)"

Man, when I went to the zoo on my latest trip, the pandas were so fucking depressing. They were all doing their agitated behaviors (as helpfully outlined on the interpretive signage) and seriously looked like they were in animal jail. In fact, pretty much every animal I saw there looked morose and melancholy. Maybe it was because I was there in early March, when DC is still whipsawing between frigid and stifling, but ugh.
posted by klangklangston at 10:58 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


My understanding is that the name will be the Washington Bravehearts.

Was the Washington Apocalyptos ever on the table?

I'd appreciate the alliteration of the Washington What Women Wants.
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:00 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


Washington Rockatanskis
Washington Thunderdomes
Washington Maxxes What Are Mad
Washington Sugar Tits
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:03 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Washington Payback, Washington Mavericks, Washington Conspiracy Theory...
posted by troika at 11:04 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


John Oliver didn't create that ad, that is an actual ad created by the Native American council (can't recall the name of the coalition, it's at the end of the ad) to highlight the offensiveness of this professional sports team name.

The ad was created by the Wintun Nation, which is in my area. They had the first big casino in Northern California. Actually, it started as a little casino in what was basically a permanent tent (like this). They made enough money that they then built an actual brick-and-mortar casino, followed by a hotel, and now they've got a full-on resort thing going, complete with spa and golf course. It's out in the middle of nowhere, in a beautiful farming valley, but gets a lot of visitors from the Bay Area, apparently.

I've worked with a few people who grew up in the town nearest the rancheria and went to high school with members of the nation. There's a lot of resentment against them simply because they've been so successful. What used to be a collection of ramshackle modular homes is now a gated community with really beautiful homes. They have a really nice health and wellness center not far from the casino, which means that members of the tribe don't have to drive 45 minutes to get health care.

And, of course, the local white people who haven't struck it rich in the same way HATE them for it.

Thing is, the tribe has given back to the community in really awesome ways, even though a lot of the community harbors this grudge against them. They bought a fleet of clean air buses for the county transit service (which is now able to provide services to small, outlying communities, where it hadn't been able to before). They've given the county money to fix bad roads and to help maintain what is now a heavily travelled road to the very rural casino. They're protecting a few big chunks of local land from development and have designated them as permanent conservation sites. They've done all this without having to, and locals still grumble about them. Gambling is evil, yada yada, and I'm sure there some negative stuff about them, but I have a very deep respect for them overall.

I'm glad they also put together this ad, and I'm proud to live in an area with a tribe that's giving so much back to the community (and let's point out that the Wintun WERE the community, before the white folks moved in and decided that they would be the community from now on) -- a community that doesn't really want them there and doesn't respect them and resents the fact that they now have much better lives than they did 20 years ago.

The least we can do is not call them and others like them damn names.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:04 AM on June 18 [17 favorites]


Washington Whistleblowers
posted by sallybrown at 11:05 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Before I ask my question, I want to had off any misinterpretation of why I am asking it: I am 100% in favor of changing this team's name, and I greatly dislike the way the team's ownership has been reacting to the idea. I'm firmly down with the idea that people get to decide what they want to be called, and that this term is a slur. With that said:

I recently heard an interview with a Native American man who is apparently very involved with the efforts to get this change to happen. I did not recognize his name, and I don't recall it, but I believe he was introduced as being the head of an organization that is pursuing lawsuits and such in order to get the team's name changed.

The interview started off with the host asking something like, "Can we get your explanation of, in your opinion, where the term 'redskin' comes from?". That immediately started up my baloney detector. His "opinion" of where the term comes from? It's not a matter of opinion. So my gut reaction to the question was "The host knows what his answer is going to be, and knows that it's an urban legend, but doesn't want to get in an argument about it."

The guy then started saying something like "As far as I am concerned, the term originally came from...", and this set off my baloney detector too: "As far as he's concerned", it came from somewhere? Again, this is not a matter of opinion.

And then he continued with something like "... when settlers put out bounties on us, to kill us indiscriminately, anybody who killed one of us was told to bring the 'red skin' into the bounty office to get their payment, literally meaning our skin that was covered with our blood." That put my baloney detector on total overload.

To be clear, I don't doubt that such bounties happened. I just doubt that the term comes from meaning skin of a murdered person that is red because it is literally covered with blood. That just screams "urban legend" to me.

Of course I recognize that I might be wrong, and he might be right; it really, really doesn't seem likely to me, but maybe. So, does anyone actually know anything about this?
posted by Flunkie at 11:07 AM on June 18


There is some etymology discussion on the wiki page but I personally have always worked from the assumption that it was no different than "darkie" for black people or any of the various terms incorporating "yellow" for asian people.
posted by elizardbits at 11:12 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


To more fully answer your question I have not heard the example you gave from any credible source before.
posted by elizardbits at 11:12 AM on June 18


So, does anyone actually know anything about this?

This Slate piece delves into the history of the term. Note that in this suit, the question is whether the term was derogatory at the time the trademark was registered, not whether the person who first used it did so offensively.
posted by sallybrown at 11:12 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


"Pigskins" is very clever, but since the impetus of changing the name would be to escape the bad publicity of offending people, you probably wouldn't want to paint a target on your back for animal rights groups (what a weird metaphor).

I truly love "Washington Department of Football Services". I'll make this observation, though... "Department" sounds better in context, but since no one would say the full name anyway I propose "Washington Bureau of Football Services". I think "The Bureau" is an impressive-sounding shorthand for the team a la "The 'Skins", and you can make your mascot the "Wild 'Crat" with the etymology being clear from context rather than seeming like a dig against (or compliment towards) Democrats.

I still think "Warthogs" would be most palatable to people who want to be smart but don't care about being interesting.
posted by Riki tiki at 11:20 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


So, does anyone actually know anything about this?

What I was taught in school is that the first people encountered by Cabot, the Beothuk of Newfoundland, painted their skin with red ochre.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:22 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why people are suggesting names as if they have to incorporate "red" or "skins" - it's not like they're going to cross out some letters and salvage the rest of the logo. Everything will need to be redesigned.
posted by desjardins at 11:24 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I propose using an anagram of the current name. We call them The Washington Nerd Kiss.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:25 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


Not only Washington, but all team names and the game as a whole would get better if the league made one new rule: the team gets one of whatever they're named after to assist them on the field. Bring on the Minnesota Murderbots!
posted by jason_steakums at 11:26 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


the team gets one of whatever they're named after to assist them on the field.

Aw, but the Buffalo Bills already have seven Williamses!
posted by troika at 11:28 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


My understanding is that the name will be the Washington Bravehearts.

Here's my scenario: Scotland votes for independence on September 18. On September 19, Washington's football team announces it will now be called the Washington Bravehearts. They roll out a new mascot who is an offensive mashup of Scrooge McDuck and Groundskeeper Willy (it isn't, however, a half-duck, half-human creature).
posted by Area Man at 11:30 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


Anaheim Angry Molesting Trees
Green Bay Zombie Redneck Murder Family

St. Louis Entire Thermonuclear Arsenal of the USSR Circa 1970
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:31 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


Everything will need to be redesigned.

That's the beauty of 'Redhawks': the feather iconography and traditional colors can stay.
posted by 0 at 11:31 AM on June 18


desjardins: I don't understand why people are suggesting names as if they have to incorporate "red" or "skins" - it's not like they're going to cross out some letters and salvage the rest of the logo. Everything will need to be redesigned.

No, but if you are talking about making the change palatable to people who don't want it to change, letting them keep the team's nick-nickname (so to speak), the 'Skins, might be a decent compromise. Frankly I don't care how people who don't want to change feel about it -- they are wrong and there is no need to appease them -- but from the point of view of the team, it is an important consideration.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:32 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


0: That's the beauty of 'Redhawks': the feather iconography and traditional colors can stay.

Don't you think Redhawks is too close to Seahawks, though?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:33 AM on June 18


The Washington Washingtons (Opponents beware... Not available for British Children)
posted by drezdn at 11:33 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


Yes, a bit, Rock Steady. Maybe it could be a Washington thing though.
posted by 0 at 11:35 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


the team gets one of whatever they're named after to assist them on the field.

Oooh. The Washington Enormous Sentient Tacos! The Washington T-Rexes. The Washington BLTs! The Washington Delicious Buttery Croque Monsieurs

im so hungry
posted by elizardbits at 11:51 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


yes i would eat a t-rex why are you even asking yourselves this question
posted by elizardbits at 11:51 AM on June 18 [8 favorites]


My vote is for the 'Washington Monuments'
posted by matty at 11:55 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why people are suggesting names as if they have to incorporate "red" or "skins" - it's not like they're going to cross out some letters and salvage the rest of the logo. Everything will need to be redesigned.

The Washington Not Redskins

team logo: the old logo with the word NO written over it in crayon
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:56 AM on June 18 [7 favorites]


I am so excited to see this news today. I couldn't have imagined a few years ago that momentum would build for this change in the way it has.

For those who don't understand why the management is hanging on so strongly, you need to understand Dan Snyder, who is (by all appearances, and in my opinion) a gross, terrible person who has contempt for people generally and for the law. My sense of him based on various things that have been reported is that if a ruling (on anything) goes against him, it might make him hang on more strongly. (This is general opinion in the DC area, might not be as familiar elsewhere.)

And about the question of, should a replacement name try to keep the colors/nickname/other similarities... I think it will make a bitter pill easier to swallow for locals who are very invested in the team. Anything that makes the change happen smoothly and quickly is good.

IMO, there are a lot of fans who are invested in various identity elements of the team (red-and-gold, the nickname 'Skins, some of the iconography - the feathers, the profile-face, the Hogs) but who could be convinced on the name issue. I don't think people generally have a consciously racist intent or anti-Indian beliefs (tho surely some do)... but it's just hard for people to imagine an alternative, and the old name has been "fine" for so long, etc. Give people an obviously-plausible alternative, that keeps some elements of the old identity (colors, etc), lets fans feel like a new identity has elements of continuity with the old one. Making the change smoother would be a good thing. You don't want to have a situation where you change over to a totally new color scheme, different sounding name, etc and you have a huge portion of your fanbase who just won't go along with it, who get even stronger about insisting on the old name, etc. Much better to have a situation like Redtails or Pigskins or even Warriors, IMO. Warriors, you could have a profile-face of some other kind of historical warrior (Roman?) and keep many of the graphic elements similar.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:04 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


nthing Department of Football Services. D - F - S! D - F - S!

Also pretty sure I'm getting a Caucasins tee shirt in the mail soon.
posted by Fezboy! at 12:05 PM on June 18


I guess the Washington Cesspool is probably out of the question.
posted by Flunkie at 12:06 PM on June 18


Washington Gerrymanderers! Washington Carpetbaggers?

if they changed it to the washington communists they wouldn't have to change the team colors and also could refer to themselves as the red menace
posted by elizardbits at 12:11 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


if they changed it to the washington communists they wouldn't have to change the team colors and also could refer to themselves as the red menace

The dread spectre of the XFL snaps its ghostly fingers thinking "damn, that would've been good."
posted by griphus at 12:21 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


desjardins: "I don't understand why people are suggesting names as if they have to incorporate "red" or "skins" - it's not like they're going to cross out some letters and salvage the rest of the logo. Everything will need to be redesigned."

There's a little town near me that, notoriously, had a high school mascot of the "Pekin Chinks." The town was at its founding named after Peking/Beijing, basically because the founder's wife thought Beijing was cool, not because anybody Chinese lived in the area at the time. The high school eventually gained the mascot in 1930 and was known as such until 1980, with students wearing traditional/stereotypical Chinese dress as the actual mascots, and everybody lost their damn minds when the school finally decided to change it. There was a lot of complaining that changing it was disrespecting the town's traditional relationship with and homage to China (unwanted "homage," but some people were very sincere about it being a respectful and beloved thing), that they were losing 50 years of "tradition" at the high school, etc etc etc.

Anyway, they changed it to the "Pekin Dragons," and instead of a European fairytale-looking dragon, they use a Chinese-style dragon, which I actually think is a very charming way of maintaining the link to Chinese culture and the (not-offensive parts of the) traditions of the school, while rendering the mascot a non-offensive fairytale animal and getting rid of the racial slur. What's more, it's distinct, as there are plenty of high school teams with a "Dragon" mascot around, but they're they only one (around here) with a Chinese-style dragon.

These institutions -- schools, sports teams -- do have a history, and people do love these institutions and have been affiliated with them for generations in some cases. The names do need to be changed, but if you can find a way to preserve a connection to the GOOD parts of the organization's history while purging the offensive slurs, it's often an easier transition to the new names/mascots/etc. Also, by having the "Dragon," it's a constantly retold story where people say "oh, yes, we were this offensive word until 1980, it was so backwards, we figured out it was offensive and knocked it off, and now we're better." I think there's a sense of whitewashing (no pun!) out the ugly parts of history when a team says "We were the Slurs, but now we're the Inoffensive Corporate Monikers with no connection to our prior history." That doesn't seem like a real reckoning with the offensive history of the name, but like a corporate PR move, whereas an attempt to wrestle with the totality of the organization and its history, good and bad, and recognize that continuity is sometimes more powerful and does more to recognize and continually educate people about why That Thing was wrong but -- importantly! -- how we can do better, and THAT we can do better. It's on a small and fairly trivial scale, but when you think about it, it's similar IN SHAPE to, say, the Civil Rights movement. We don't make the future better by pretending the Jim Crow laws never happened because they were terrible; it's really important that we acknowledge those as part and parcel of American history and that we acknowledge that we still have problems with race today -- and by celebrating the parts where we as Americans finally got things right. I really think it's important for people to know that injustices have been fixed in the past, so they realize that injustices CAN be fixed.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:27 PM on June 18 [8 favorites]


I guess the Washington Cesspool is probably out of the question

"Where Trickle Down meets the Rising Tide!"
posted by yoink at 12:32 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Rock Steady: Don't you think Redhawks is too close to Seahawks, though?

This would be amazing. It would be great for the team often mistaken for being from Washington state to change its name to be close to that of the team that actually is in Washington state.
posted by mountmccabe at 12:37 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


I was partial to "Washington Veterans", even though the reporter who suggested that possibility admitted it wasn't the best idea, but Washington Department of Football Services is the best, even though it has no chance.

The announcers even get to call the individual players "Servicemen".

"Fourth and two, and the Servicemen desperately need this first down if they are going to get back in this game."

"Looks like one of the servicemen is down, I can't see the jersey number yet".

Of course the cheerleaders would be in suits and ties. What else would make sense? (Well besides getting rid of cheerleaders).
posted by cashman at 12:40 PM on June 18


Rock Steady: "Don't you think Redhawks is too close to Seahawks, though?"

In the Canadian Football League, there used to be the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders (only the latter remains today).
posted by mhum at 12:48 PM on June 18


Meet The Native American Grandmother Who Just Beat The Washington Redskins

Harjo said she was "very honest" with the five young people who joined the case about how difficult it would be to fight a legal battle against a pro-football team worth over a billion dollars.

"It's not for everyone and I was frank about the kinds of pressures that they would be up against," said Harjo. "They go through your garbage and they hire P.I.'s. It's a nasty business. They're mean, and they're big, and they have lots of money ."

posted by Omnomnom at 12:57 PM on June 18 [4 favorites]


I predict that "Washington Department of Football Services" would lead to outrage amongst the Tea Party, and in the next round of Republican presidential primaries, the candidates will be pressed on whether they back the complete elimination of the DFS or just severely slashing its budget.
posted by Flunkie at 12:58 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Can anyone explain why Washington Dept. of Football (Services) has no chance? Is there some law preventing organizations from pretending to be Federal Agencies? I guess that sounds obvious now that I typed it...
posted by joecacti at 12:58 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Man, the jokes are just neverending with DFS! Someone start a petition! Let's do this!
posted by joecacti at 12:58 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Another problem that these racial mascots and stereotypes perpetuate is the notion that opposing team fan-bases feel they have permission to disparage said race under the context of "cheering against the other side." There's a Philadelphia Eagles/Flyers fan who has a fake severed head with feathers and warpaint, impaled on a knife, which he trots out every time the Eagles play the Rs and the Flyers play the Blackhawks. Non-native high schools have been seen to put up banners with slogans like "Sending [opposing HS] back on a Trail of Tears" when they face another school with an NDN mascot. Then there's fans on both sides of the field using varying forms of "scalp 'em" as part of their spirit chants.

I'm sure these fans don't intend to be racist, nor do they intend harm to come to any NDN. However, the reduction of a race to a caricature is still present, and how people treat that caricature can have unintended the consequences in how people view or treat the race. Can you imagine the outcry if there were a team called the Washington Darkies, and opposing fans showed up with nooses and chants of "Hang 'em?" Of course the very notion is in poor taste, but having it in popular culture like the Washington NFL team serves to keep these ideas alive, that NDNs no longer exist as real people and any generic aspects of NDN culture can be mocked, ridiculed, or used in an inappropriate manner.

In regards to schools that have "sanction" use of NDN imagery, they're not without their own set of problems. Just because a tribe may have granted license to use an image or name as part of an organization shouldn't give blanket permission for fans to don headdresses, chant, and do tomahawk chops. The organization itself shouldn't have blanket approval to use such imagery in a disrespectful tone, either, which unfortunately some have been caught doing (can't find examples now, but I saw them a number of them within the past several years).
posted by CancerMan at 12:59 PM on June 18 [6 favorites]


The Washington Dangerously Unstable War-Heads, Both Literally as in Missiles but Also as a Humorous Jape in Reference to the Members of our Legislative Bodies
posted by KathrynT at 1:09 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Since they're located in the great state of Washington, I vote for the Washington Grunge. /dated
posted by headspace at 1:21 PM on June 18


(The Washington team being referred to here is Washington D.C.)
posted by CancerMan at 1:23 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Nthing the Department of Football Services.
posted by kafziel at 1:38 PM on June 18


Oh what the heck, let's just make it the Washington Dan Snyders --- he'd probably have a coronary, trying to decide if he was being honored or insulted, so it's win/win either way. Then after Snyder's had that coronary and gone to his final reward, we can simply rename it again to Department of Football Services.
posted by easily confused at 1:51 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I predict that "Washington Department of Football Services" would lead to outrage amongst the Tea Party, and in the next round of Republican presidential primaries, the candidates will be pressed on whether they back the complete elimination of the DFS or just severely slashing its budget.

Finally Rick Perry remembers what that third department was!
posted by yoink at 1:54 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Washington Wonks
Washington Beltways
Washington Scandals
Washington Insiders
posted by zardoz at 1:59 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I look forward to how sport franchise naming will play out in the NHL once Quebec separates.

Quebec separating is not a thing that is going to happen. See the Constitution for details as to why.

/derail
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:03 PM on June 18


Washington Federals ("the Feds")
posted by The Tensor at 2:16 PM on June 18


Washington Google Ron Paul, Sheeple!

Also, Jon Bois' response is perfect as always.
posted by Turkey Glue at 2:20 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I mean, it's not only the opposing side that does the awful stuff. This page for an organization trying to get rid of the "Fighting Sioux" mascot at the University of North Dakota pictures a shirt that was sold in the college's town. In this case, the good guys won the fight and they're in between team names, thank everything.

(Sorry about how that will slowly redirect you to other depressing pieces of information. The page was born when friends of mine were fighting the good fight about 15 years ago.)
posted by lauranesson at 2:31 PM on June 18


When I was in high school, in Houston, TX, my high school's mascot was the Rebels. Specifically, a Confederate soldier on horseback in full battle dress carrying the Stars and Bars. I was a junior there when one of the three black students in my class said "Um, really? REALLY? can we not?"

It took them about twelve years, but they changed the mascot to the Mavericks, represented by a cowboy on horseback. I was actually really impressed, it was a good change, keeping a lot of the flavor of the original without being horrifyingly racist. It can be done, it really can!
posted by KathrynT at 2:35 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


The Washington Post did a web contest a few months back for a new name and team logo. There were some really good entries - the first one linked below is pretty slick, I think. Washington Warriors has a nice ring to it, and the Monument-Pentagon logo is pretty neat.

I personally like the DFS option myself, but it'll never, ever, fly.

Here's the link to the contest.
posted by Thistledown at 2:40 PM on June 18


If they go with "Department of Football Services" they will need: posted by maxwelton at 2:44 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


I guess I was lucky? I don't recall my elementary or middle schools even having a mascot or team names. My two high schools' mascots were a carp (school motto: Carpe Diem. Groan) and a bulldog. Inoffensively bland in that Canadian way :)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:51 PM on June 18


And what about the Dept. of Football Services' uniforms? They'd probably be either navy blue & white, or grey & white, and designed to mimic a business suit.

On the bright side, those near-naked Redskinettes who're freezing their buns off every winter? I suppose they could become The Office Girls, or for something throwback The Steno Pool; their uniforms would no longer be those ridiculous bikinis they're currently in, but a mannish skirt/jacket combo with matching pumps. Instead of pom-poms they'd wave briefcases in unison.
posted by easily confused at 2:52 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Their uniform pants would be khaki colored. Away tops would be a dull blue, with the numbering in ink-pen blue, or maybe a subtle gold. Home tops would be faint pin-stripes.

Helmets? The color of file cabinets, with a line down the middle, and a couple of drawer handles on each side.

And on the backs of the Jerseys, the name cloth looks like a file folder with the player's name on it.

Okay, it's time to start the petition, like joecacti said.
posted by cashman at 3:04 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


The corporate entity could be SHIELD. The team? The Avengers.

Every player would have a uniform based on a different Marvel super-hero, and would be known by that name. The cross-licensing deal would be huge, the marketing opportunities insane. Locker room interviews would be excellent. The list of benefits is endless.

In fact, just force Snyder to sell to Marvel.
posted by maxwelton at 3:06 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Red Tails! Tuskegee Airmen for a majority African-American city! P-51 flyby during national anthem! US Army Air Force insignia on helmets! Greatest generation! Military appeal will muzzle conservatives upset that their racism's been stolen!

Washington could go from most racist to least racist overnight!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 3:15 PM on June 18 [7 favorites]


Re: Redhawks - Such a change would not be without precedent. See Miami (Ohio) University:

http://msn.foxsports.com/buzzer/story/miami-redhawks-washington-nfl-team-twitter-troll-061814
posted by zakur at 3:15 PM on June 18


The Washington Washingtons

they're coming... they're coming...THEY'RE COMING!
posted by jason_steakums at 3:52 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Hey, no one's suggested the obvious yet: the Washington Irvings. The mascot a headless horseman, natch.
posted by yoink at 3:55 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Well, I mean, if we really want to honor Washington, DC's relationship to tribes then clearly the only name that makes sense is the Washington Treaty Breakers.
posted by Skwirl at 4:06 PM on June 18


@lauranesson - we probably know some of the same people.

Sadly that kind of behavior continues. This disgusting shirt is from just last month.
posted by nathan_teske at 4:07 PM on June 18


Snyder should just keep with tradition and rename his team to the Washington Jacksons, and use Andrew's $20 face for the logo.
posted by CancerMan at 4:10 PM on June 18


Washington Irvings? Sorry yoink,
Washington Irving is just a famous Knickerbocker and that's already a team name.

Washington Insiders!! that's a name with some gusto
posted by Megafly at 4:23 PM on June 18


The Washington Hodor
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:39 PM on June 18 [7 favorites]


Washington Insiders!! that's a name with some gusto

Their mascot could be a an ex-player who's become a referee.
posted by yoink at 4:43 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Okay so one of the last times we discussed this issue, someone mentioned Nathan Bedford Forrest High School in Jacksonville FL as a particularly disgusting and egregious example of gross naming racism, and we pretty much all agreed. I was just checking their wiki article as I forgot the location of the school and needed to smugly prove a point to a native floridian friend, and I discovered that the school board voted this year to change the name of the school to Westside High School as of 07/01/14. The former Rebel teams will now be called the Wolverines, as per student vote.

anyway this is pretty rad and i feel good about it
posted by elizardbits at 5:02 PM on June 18 [6 favorites]


So for completely obvious reasons, I'm sold on DFS.

But realistically, Red Tails is the way to go for reasons pointed out above. And perhaps this is cynical, but I feel like it's in Snyder's business interests, too. It helps rehab the image of racism that some feel, it's militaristic and Color Blind for the Fox News set, and there's a huge African American market as well.

I really hope this is one of those rare confluences of rank self-interest and The Right Thing.
posted by graphnerd at 5:50 PM on June 18


It's only sub-minor league, but still Bravehearts (terrible name that it is) has already been taken. There's a long explanation that this is meant to honor firefighters, but I'm sure your average joe still thinks FREEEEEEEEDOM and blue faces.
posted by TwoStride at 5:51 PM on June 18


Smithsonian linguist Ives Goddard has probably done the most comprehensive research into the origin of the term redskin. Here is a link to his article (pdf). No matter what the origin may be, though, it is overwhelmingly perceived today as pejorative and a slur and the name will inevitably change, whatever Snyder may try to do.

From the Washington Post article about Goddard's research: The final message, [University of Connecticut historian Nancy] Shoemaker suggested, is that "even if the Indians were the first to use it, the origin has no relationship to later use. What happened at the beginning doesn't justify it today."
posted by gudrun at 5:54 PM on June 18


Terry Bradshaw (Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, currently a broadcaster for Fox Sports) was on Fox News this morning and, when asked his opinion, said the Redskins should change their their name, comparing it to the "the n-word". Of course, everyone else in the room jumped all over his ass for that. I watched Fox News again this evening--totally different program--and they were going on about how Bradshaw was pushing Political Correctness.

I think someone at the channel is pissed they put an old white man on air and he dared to go against Party Doctrine. The daytime producer must have gotten into a heap of trouble as well. I bet if a FNC producer allows a respectable person to utter something liberal on air, they get 40 lashes from Roger Ailes in the Dungeon.

Also, it's annoying that the kooks on Fox keep whining that the government took away the Redskins' patent. At least when MSNBC pushes their dumb politics they at least bother to make sure to get the terms correct.
posted by riruro at 5:59 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Fox News' only goal is to keep their viewers as ignorant as possible.
posted by elizardbits at 6:08 PM on June 18


Also, just spitballing here, but if the team can find a black former player with some familial connection to the Tuskeegee Airmen, and concoct a story about how he reached out to Snyder and convinced him to change his mind, that would be Gold.

The Mitch Albom book about it would sell three million copies every Father's Day for the next three generations.
posted by graphnerd at 6:08 PM on June 18


Turn that around, graphnerd, and it'd turn the conversation on its head.

Washington Airmen
posted by notyou at 7:21 PM on June 18


I have a feeling this ruling will be overturned on appeal. If you've read the ruling and the dissent, you'll see that much of the case rests on whether the National Council of American Indians represented a "substantial composite" of the Native American population at the time of the various trademark registrations (1967-1990). It doesn't appear that the NCAI had any well-organized record-keeping in the late '60s and early '70s, so the presiding judge uses evidence such as newspaper reports and hearsay from 20 years later to determine how many Native Americans the NCAI actually spoke for when it passed various resolutions opposing the team name in the '60s and '70s.

Since this particular case is limited to that question—was the trademark provably disparaging to a significant portion of the populace in question the time it was registered?—and the fact that most likely the appeal will be heard in a more conservative court, I wouldn't hold up my hopes that this cancellation will be upheld.
posted by stargell at 7:46 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I have a feeling the NFL will have a talk with Dan Snyder about just giving up before it gets to an appeal, honestly...
posted by empath at 8:38 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


You're not going to get Senators, Representatives, or anything like that because DC doesn't actually have any Representatives or Senators for themselves. (It's a sticking point: check out the license plates. All they get is a non-voting delegate and 3 electors.) The post-2005 Nationals were originally supposed to be the Senators, but local government blocked the name in protest.
posted by vogon_poet at 9:52 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I was wondering if the mascot name "Red Devils" was a reference to Native Americans, but can't find much evidence for it. I guess most conceptualizations of devils are red.
posted by whatgorilla at 10:12 PM on June 18


Seattle Times bans use of the Washington NFL team's nickname in its print and online publications.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:25 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


vogon_poet: All they get is a non-voting delegate and 3 electors.) The post-2005 Nationals were originally supposed to be the Senators, but local government blocked the name in protest.

So here's the deal. We rename them the Washington Potato Skins, then immediately move them to Idaho, and in return, Eleanor Holmes Norton gets to actually vote on stuff.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:27 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


The Coachella Valley Arabs
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:30 PM on June 18


There's actually an interesting background to the Coachella Valley Arab name.

It's a bit more complicated than the redskins thing, but the mascot is inexcusable..
posted by empath at 10:50 PM on June 18


They could just make up a fictional being.

Go Madison East High School Purgolders! Which is a purple and gold catbear. Or was, in 1997.

It rules.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:00 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]



mhum: "Rock Steady: "Don't you think Redhawks is too close to Seahawks, though?"

In the Canadian Football League, there used to be the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders (only the latter remains today).
"

They even played each other in the 76 Grey Cup. Washington should double down on the confusion of the place name and leak a rumour that they are changing their name to the Washington Sea Hawks (nominally inspired by the Navy Helicopter).
posted by Mitheral at 3:17 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


"Ragin' Cajuns"

Just FYI the term "Cajun" isn't a slur, and as far as I know as an actual Cajun, I'm pretty sure Ragin' is just used for rhyming effect. Cajuns aren't known for their rage, in fact much the opposite. It also adds an element of fierceness to a mascot known for mostly just eating seafood and drinking too much. Also, the Ragin' Cajuns are based out of Lafayette, which is the world epicenter of Cajun culture. We can debate whether it's ever appropriate to name a team after human beings, but it's much more on par with Minnesota Vikings than the Fightin' Irish, let alone any actual racial slur.
posted by Sara C. at 11:12 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


much of the case rests on whether the National Council of American Indians represented a "substantial composite" of the Native American population at the time of the various trademark registrations (1967-1990). It doesn't appear that the NCAI had any well-organized record-keeping in the late '60s and early '70s, so the presiding judge uses evidence such as newspaper reports and hearsay from 20 years later to determine how many Native Americans the NCAI actually spoke for when it passed various resolutions opposing the team name in the '60s and '70s.

That was the heyday of the American Indian Movement, so it's going to be a tough sell to argue that, like, that never happened. There's plenty of documentary evidence out there about all of this, even in the absence of meeting minutes of a specific activist group.
posted by Sara C. at 11:49 AM on June 19


They even played each other in the 76 Grey Cup.

The Roughriders and the Rough Riders faced each other in four Grey Cups. 1976 was the last.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:16 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


FedEx shareholders raise concerns about sponsorship deal
posted by humanfont at 1:12 PM on June 19 [5 favorites]


Proud to Be, from the National Congress of American Indians, a 2014 SuperBowl-timed 2 minute video of Native pride criticizing the Washington team name. Apologies if it's been posted to MeFi before, I haven't seen it until today.
posted by Nelson at 4:29 PM on June 19


You're not going to get Senators, Representatives, or anything like that because DC doesn't actually have any Representatives or Senators for themselves. (It's a sticking point: check out the license plates. All they get is a non-voting delegate and 3 electors.) The post-2005 Nationals were originally supposed to be the Senators, but local government blocked the name in protest.

Which is a shame, because that fact was the entire joke behind 80 years of Washington Senators baseball history.
posted by kafziel at 4:32 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


The Washington Non-Voting Delegates has the advantage of being a novel approach.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:29 PM on June 19 [5 favorites]


Relevant: If You Own the Washington Redskins You're a Cock

"Wouldn't it be offensive if we cheered "rah rah rah" for the Carolina Negroes
With our beat box cheer in our fake foam afros?
Or if the Minnesota Vikes became the New York Kikes
With dollar bills on their helmets cause that's what they like, you know?"
- Atom and His Package
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:00 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Kafziel I thought the baseball team was the joke for that amount of time?
posted by Carillon at 12:59 PM on June 20


First in war, first in peace, last in the American League.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:03 PM on June 20


By forcing the residents of the nation's capital to suffer defeat upon defeat by the home team and whole seasons of broken promises Dan Snyder's Washington Redskins honor the historical legacy of our native peoples.
posted by humanfont at 3:51 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


FedEx shareholders raise concerns about sponsorship deal

So Redskins Sponsor FedEx Is OK With That Racist Team Name, Too? The wagons are circling around America’s racist NFL team. Next target: Pressuring Federal Express to remove its name from the stadium.
posted by homunculus at 4:24 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


When Slang Becomes a Slur: The linguist who testified against the Redskins in their trademark proceedings explains why the team's name can't be separated from historical hatreds.
posted by homunculus at 11:22 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]


Redskins cheerleaders remind fans of 50 years of costumes

The secret TIMING! to public relations is.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:42 AM on June 25 [1 favorite]


I sincerely feel like the organization is trolling at this point.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:28 AM on June 25 [2 favorites]


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