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Washington Football Team Announces Plan for New Name

The Washington Football Team has launched a new website stating that "the future of Washington Football arrives in 2022." The Football Team will still be known as the Football Team for the 2021 season, but will re-brand itself with a new nickname starting in 2022. The website includes a page where fans can submit ideas for new names and uniforms; some of those ideas have already been posted.

I'll be honest, I'll be sad to see the Football Team go. As amateurish and desperate as it seemed when first announced, it quickly stood out as unique among NFL franchises. It helped that it lent itself to an elegantly simple set of uniforms, which were easy on the eyes and also set them apart from the rest of the league. 

Comments

48 comments, Last at 02 Mar 2021, 5:13pm

2 I always liked the WFT's…

I always liked the WFT's colors. I really hope they keep the Native American theme. There's no reason for that to be viewed as racist, especially when I always took it as an homage to the Native American spirit which is part of this country's history. 

4 Hard to make it work

Naming after an ethnic group is never going to work. Naming after a particular nation or tribe is problematic, too.

Maybe something emblematic of Native America culture, like the Coyote myths, could be ok. But it would need to be something that doesn’t lean on stereotypes, nor disrespect traditions and religions.

It’s probably better to make a clean break, regardless. Anything Native American will also be perceived as trying to perpetuate (by reference) the Redskin slur.

This is coming from someone who grew up a Redskins fan. As a kid, I loved rooting for the Redskins to scalp the Cowboys. That just does not cut it today. And it was always a negative stereotype. We kids just didn’t know better.

I hope they keep the colors, though.

5 Do you feel the Chiefs is…

Do you feel the Chiefs is racist? What about names like the Fighting Soux?

I feel like theres a way to honor the spirit of the Native Americans without bringing up tragedy or being disparaging. 

Or maybe you are right and it's all too fraught to ever be realized. It sure doesn't help when your owner is Dan Snyder

8 I know you weren't asking me…

I know you weren't asking me, but:

Do you feel the Chiefs is racist? What about names like the Fighting Soux?

Yes and yes.

I feel like theres a way to honor the spirit of the Native Americans without bringing up tragedy or being disparaging. 

It's not "tragedy"; it's a crime of the worst sort imaginable, the systematic extinction of one culture by another, completely intended and meticulously planned. If someone deliberately killed most of your ancestors then told you to stop being so sensitive when they appropriated bits of your history to decorate their silly games, I bet you'd be pretty pissed.

Or maybe you are right and it's all too fraught to ever be realized. 

Exactly.

 

9 These are fair points. I…

These are fair points. I guess it takes the view that references to native americans is akin to the holocaust or slavery; basically the direct extermination of a group of people.

Still, we have Thanksgiving which is partly a form of celebrating the Native American spirit, even if a lot of it is farcical.

Maybe I'm being stubborn, but there is a culture they have that is distinctly part of our country and it's history thats worth honoring in a positive way.

Nfl team names, beyond espousing toughness, are meant to capture aspects of a city or land or culture. The Packers and Steelers, for example or the 49ers. That's kind of what I was going for with this.

10 Yeah, but football and other…

Yeah, but football and other sports are such a superficial form of entertainment and team names are chosen only because they sound cool. There's no respect involved, no recognition of whatever the team is named after but the shallowest aspects. For comparison, imagine calling a team the Jews, because the Jewish people displayed such toughness during the holocaust. It's a trivialization of a very serious thing. I'm also sure that many Jewish kids would absolutely love it or not even care, but it still wouldn't be right for us as a society, not because of how individual Jews might feel about it but because of what it says about how we approach such grave matters.

18  I'm also sure that many…

 I'm also sure that many Jewish kids would absolutely love it or not even care, but it still wouldn't be right for us as a society, not because of how individual Jews might feel about it but because of what it says about how we approach such grave matters.

You do know how patronizing that sounds, right? 

I honestly don't even know how to engage with this comment.  Team names are almost universally selected because they represent an ideal that the team wants to rally around.  They are named after legendary warriors, powerful animals, or natural disasters exactly because they tap into deep, not superficial, cultural touchpoints.

As for me, I'll just sit back and daydream about how nice it would be to have a team named the Błyskawica.

21 In what way is it…

In what way is it patronizing to try to take this seriously? I really don't understand what you're trying to say here. Being serious about a serious issue is bad now, according to you?

22 I don't think I'm being…

I don't think I'm being patronizing, but anyway, you say these names "tap into deep, not superficial, cultural touchpoints".

I disagree. See, neither team fans, nor NFL fans, announcer or even knowledgeable fans and analysts know much of anything about real bears, jets, titans or native americans. That's why I speak about shallowness. We have a vague idea about those things and think they're cool, and powerful and legendary. Now, if they truly represented ideals, then there ought to be a more serious effort to understand them. To learn what they are like in real life, not only how they appear in social imagination. Only then could we honestly say we respect and honor them by naming a sports team or anything else after them.

25 I think there are some…

I think there are some segments of the fans that truly relish in their teams historical or cultural ethos. Sure maybe most fans don't care at all, but certainly part of the fan base feels more interconnected centering around a particular theme. 

I think we should all agree there's a definitely a gray area in this. Having the Vikings as a team name is not the same as the Nazis.

 

Anyways Washington DC already has an obvious theme they can name their team around; so I hope the Brain trust comes up with something more clever than the Wizards

24 Yeshiva University's…

Yeshiva University's athletic teams are called the Maccabees, after the formidable Jewish guerilla fighters who won independence from the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire in about 110 B.C, and had their own kingdom for about 50 years, until Pompey The Great rolled in from Rome and installed a client king on the throne.

33 The Thanksgiving Myth

The truth about the Thanksgiving myth I was taught in early childhood turns out to be really, really, dark (smiling favorably on neither European settlers nor Natives). 

I don't see anything in your comments that seem ill-spirited.  There is much to be appreciated, learned from, and honored regarding Native culture.  However, sports nicknames and branding might not be a sufficient platform, in terms of intellectual depth, credibility, and impact.

 

28 Bad taste, inappropriate and…

Bad taste, inappropriate and/or offensive are not the same as racist.

What would you define for a team name to be 'racist'?

My definition of 'racism' is to treat a race, or a person or group of a race as if they are above or below other races.

 

 

46 WTF?

“Meticulously planned”?  The US government? Please.

I vote for bandits, because the Beltway encloses thousands of them.

47 Even as a libertarian I must…

In reply to by Raiderfan

Even as a libertarian I must concede that the most efficient killing machine is one run by the government. And considering that one of our presidents, William Henry Harrison, was elected for his prowess for killing Native Americans kind of says all you need to know.

As an aside, I have a hard time anachronistically judging people from the past.

48 Um, do you know anything…

In reply to by Raiderfan

Um, do you know anything about the history of how the U.S. government has treated Native Americans??

42 "Do you feel the Chiefs is…

"Do you feel the Chiefs is racist? What about names like the Fighting [Sioux]?"

It's not the *name*. It's the attitude towards requests from the people that the name represents. Names are just words. Their impact changes over time. We have plenty of words which used to be insults but now are just... words. If they continually get used as insults... they're insults.

But in terms of the teams, it's their attitude towards the group that matters.

"I feel like theres a way to honor the spirit of the Native Americans without bringing up tragedy or being disparaging. "

There is! Absolutely! Have a consistently good relationship with them, starting from the first time they came to you and said "hey, uh, this thing about your team's not good, and really offensive. Change it, please." Ideally responding with "hey, yeah, sure, let's get together and find ways to turn this into a positive."

That's... not what Washington's done. It's like, the opposite of what Washington's done. They've consistently ignored requests from the Native American community and even commissioned their own hack survey to try to show it's not an issue. (Hint: if the organization that literally represents the group that's being offended says it's offensive, it's offensive to that group. Like, practically by definition. You can't end-run around the organization. That'd be like the US saying to a foreign country "you need to stop this behavior" and that foreign country doing a survey in the US and then saying "but, really, you *like* it").

Washington hasn't always been quite this dismissive (in my opinion, at least - measured by the standards of the time) but it's been really bad under Snyder. So at this point, no, Washington doesn't really have a way forward. Certainly not in a single year.

The Chiefs have really wishy-washed their way around it - there's been pressure against them, but they've always at least reacted in some way, which I think has gotten them leeway in the public's view. In my opinion, though, it doesn't make it better. Might actually make it worse.

The number of teams that've done the right thing is incredibly small. At the professional level, it's zero. At the collegiate and college level, there's a handful.

41 To me, the question is why…

To me, the question is why would you?   The purpose of a professional sports team nickname - to the extent there's any purpose at all - is to sell merchandise.  Its not to honor anyone, its not to create cultural awareness, its not to generate a competitive advantage on the field because of your fierce-sounding nickname.  It's to create a brand you can sell.  Why would you bring in anything that distracts you from being laser-focused on selling?

As an aside, per discussion elsewhere on this thread, a local aspect - cute as squirrels may be - is a terrible reason to take on a nickname, unless the club is owned by the local tourism board.  If you're going to invest in a brand, you don't spend money to promote one that doesn't travel.  There's a reason the Rams remained the Rams, wherever they went.

44 "a local aspect.... is a…

"a local aspect.... is a terrible reason to take on a nickname"

I don't know about that, and that hasn't stopped teams before. 

The New Orleans Jazz kept their nickname when they moved to Utah (even though one doesn't associate Jazz with Utah).  L.A. Lakers also doesn't make much sense, but it did back when they played in Minnesota.

The Buccaneers also got their name from a local tradition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasparilla_Pirate_Festival  The Seahawks logo is based on the art of the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw people, who are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest.  The Vikings theme was chosen because of the large numbers of people of Scandanavian descent who settled in the area.  The Patriots were chosen because of the New England area being one of the main flashpoints of the American War of Independence.  

There are countless other examples, and it hasn't exactly hurt merchandise sales, which are more driven by the size of the fan base and success off the team,  not whether or not their nickname makes sense.

45 Look I think people are…

Look I think people are reading too much into this. Since we've decided that every team wants to have a theme name rather than be called the Washington football team and the New York football team and so on and so on...

You might as well pick a team name that connects with the local market or culture or whatever. Those to me are the most interesting names. I personally hate the fact that they are called the Detroit Lions. It's kids soccer team name. Compare them with the Detroit Pistons as a perfect counterexample.

43 "My question was can you…

"My question was can you have a Native American themed football team name that doesn't offend Native Americans?"

I mean, you're talking about 574 different recognized groups as if they're one thing that you can "theme." The closest you could do is ask the NCAI, but they have a (very justified) disdain for sports teams, so can you have a team that has generic Native American theme? From a practical standpoint, the answer's "no," since the NCAI's made that pretty clear. And again, I don't exactly blame them - the underlying idea that you can continue to propagate the idea that you've got this one singular "Native American" thing is just silly.

But can you have a team that has any Native American themes to it? Yeah - go and discuss it with a specific tribe.

7 A generic non-name like …

A generic non-name like "Football Team" fits the time we live in perfectly.

I hope they will stick with this name or choose a name that is not politically loaded.

 

15 I'm surprised they weren't…

I'm surprised they weren't working on things behind the scenes this whole year, so they could reveal it before the 2021 season. 

I heard someone say they should be the Buckskins (like, a frontier guy), so they could still be the 'Skins.

16 I was also surprised that…

I was also surprised that they didnt set this in motion a year earlier. 

Maybe they waited for the storm to blow over before they started thinking about a new name. 

They wont go with Buckskin. Thats a beer brand.

20 I think they have a name…

I think they have a name picked out already, and they are waiting for someone to submit it so they can say that they picked the name and get a nice PR bump out of it.

26 My favorite is the "Eight…

My favorite is the "Eight-track Tapes" as they have enjoyed the same relevancy during the Daniel Snyder era.

(Yeah, that's a cheap shot.  But I kind of like it)

 

27 Squirrels

Is still avaolable.  Mayeb i will load up that e-mail box fan site thingy 

34 Is because squirrels are…

Is because squirrels are very nice animals ajd they live in Washington dc. So is not liek naming yhw team Washington Baboons or Washingtpn Sharks or Washington Polar Bears or some other animsl that does not live there . Plus, some squirrels are red although that kimd lubes mostly in western usa. Washingyon DC probably has grey squirrels only. But if tema wanyed to keep red and yellow color scheme, then could. Logo would be docile squirrel, majestic even

 Tiredof aggressive lookimg logos. Not interested in logo showing squirrel ticked off because acorns went missing. Just very simple nice squirrel logo that says, "We do not need angry logo to do well. Here is our squirrel. Respect our acorns."

39 I read once that the…

I read once that the Washington DC area has one of the highest concentration of lawyers in the world (more lawyers in DC than in the entire country of Japan, for instance).  If you named the team “Washington Sharks” or “DC Sharks” with a generic logo, it could work in both the literal and figurative sense.

(No offense meant to Will Allen or other posters who are attorneys by trade).

37 Epic

Wow.  So much to absorb here.

I used to curate a compendium of noteworthy RaiderJoe offerings.  At some point, his extraordinary, incessant barrage of non sequiturs became to overwhelming to document. 

Then I read this.

"Tiredof aggressive lookimg logos."

Joe is a fan/apologist for a team whose logo features a menacing man glaring from beneath a helmet and crossed swords.  All right.

"Here is our squirrel. Respect our acorns."

In my lifetime, the single most important phrase ever said out loud was MLK "I have a dream".  Now running second is

"Here is our squirrel. Respect our acorns."

 

38 If you were to compile a…

In reply to by BroncosGuyAgain

If you were to compile a downloadable PDF file titled “Best of RaiderJoe” or “RaiderJoe’s Random Musings Over the Years”, and charged money for it, I would basically throw my credit card at my computer screen to get it.

40 So clearly this would not…

So clearly this would not work, since the squirrel looks like it has a bad case of rabies, and would probably also get busted for PEDs:

https://www.dreamstime.com/illustration-squirrel-esport-mascot-logo-design-squirrel-esport-mascot-logo-design-image159988193

But this might be more your style:

https://www.facebook.com/SecretSquirrelsFC/photos/pb.1567630146709525.-2207520000../1567643523374854/?type=3&theater