Hail to the Washington Redskins name change
As a diehard fan of the New York Giants I always thought about the Washington Redskins strictly in football terms, that is as a longtime division rival to my favorite team. I rarely gave a lot of thought to “Redskins” or “Skins” as monikers that might be offensive (or worse) to Native Americans.
Shame on me.
I’m thinking about it now.
Facing pressure from FedEx, which as the title sponsor of the Landover, MD, stadium where Washington plays, along with other influential businesses such as Bank of America, Nike and Pepsi, team owner Dan Snyder said the team would undergo a “thorough review” of the name.
This almost certainly means that the Redskins name is about to be history, and the team will finally do the right thing.
To which I sing, “Hail to the Name Change.”
“We are supportive of this important step," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter tweeted: “And let’s be clear: There’s no review if there’s no change coming. Redskins on way out.”
For its part, USA TODAY Sports quoted unnamed sources of saying “it’s over” when it comes to Snyder sticking with the Redskins name.
Snyder himself said in a statement that, “This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League, and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field.”
This by the way is the same Snyder who seven years ago told USA TODAY Sports: "We will never change the name of the team.”
Of course the conversation around race has changed dramatically since the murder of George Floyd.
The fact is the Redskins history hasn’t always been a proud one, certainly when it comes to race. Under founder George Preston Marshall, the Redskins were the last team to sign an African American player, the late Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell who joined the Skins in 1962.
In a prelude perhaps to the likely name change, Marshall, widely considered to be a racist, was recently removed from the team's Ring of Honor at FedEx field. Separately a monument of Marshall’s was removed from the RFK Stadium site where the Redskins used to play.
It's still not known when the name change will happen, assuming it does, or what the new, presumably politically correct, alternative will be?
There’s already plenty of possibilities being floated, including Warriors, Americans, Nationals, and Senators.
And this may even turn into a positive for Snyder, who as Christine Brennan of USA Today said on CNN, will have a lot of fresh merchandise to sell.
So what do you think? Are the Redskins finally doing the right thing? And what are your suggested new names?