What's in a Name? Solutions to the Redskins Name Debate—Not Really

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What's in a Name? Solutions to the Redskins Name Debate—Not Really
Al Bello/Getty Images

Catastrophic issues are dealt with in various regions of our planet every day.  How do we prevent famine?  How can we find cures for horrible diseases infinite in number? How can we end wars and senseless acts of violence?  And how can we stonewall Nicki Minaj from making more music? 

For some, however, there is only one cardinal quandary, and this giant trounces all others in the world so drastically that select journalists devote their entire existence to its controversy.  The problem I speak of is the Washington Redskins' name.

The racially-charged name has come under much scrutiny in the past, and this offseason, coverage of name-change requests have multiplied exponentially.

Prominent figures such as Washington D.C.’s own Mayor Vincent Gray have spoken in favor of a name change discussion, with racism being cited as the obvious culprit. 

The fan base is often split in opinion.  Many regard the name as being unassociated with race in their own minds, focusing instead on those who have worn the uniform or what it has meant during their own personal lifetime as football fans. 

Then there are those that focus on the brutal truth of the origins of the word and what it meant to an entire race of people. 

This isn’t the first incident of racism when it comes to the Washington Redskins franchise.  After all, in 1962 under then-owner George Preston Marshall, they were the last team to integrate African-Americans onto their roster.  That came only after the Kennedy administration threatened Marshall with civil rights legal action.  

 

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Members of the Redskins Band prepare to play the fight-song

 

The team also had to change the locally-revered fight-song “Hail to the Redskins” when the words “Fight for old D.C.” were added in place of “Fight for old Dixie,” which was used between 1959-61 and was an obvious reference to the Confederacy. 

Solely for the purpose of entertainment, let’s go ahead and assume the team does change their name.  That begs the next question. 

What will they change the name to? 

The Washington Warriors has been offered up by some.  With that, not only do you get alliteration (as D.C. faithful know the Pollin family was so fond of), but also a term that encompasses all races when referring to the pinnacle of bravery and courage that are exuded every time a player steps onto the field.  

Let us take a more comedic approach, because if there’s one thing true Washingtonians know, it’s bad team names (Wizards). 

Here’s a list of politically-correct and D.C.-associated names.  Pretend you have to choose one.

The Washington Georges:  Why not name the team in honor of the first leader of our nation?  They could even borrow the George Washington mascot from the Washington Nationals’ “President’s Race.”  Wouldn’t you just love a football team named the Georges?  Donning pristine uniforms resembling Jamie Foxx’s odd choice of attire in Django Unchained (2013) would surely make them the league’s best-dressed instantaneously.

The Washington Traffic:  The entire D.C. area is infamous for traffic.  Rush-hour is essentially 20 hours long, and driving to the store to buy your child their favorite Justin Bieber DVD could consume hours of your life.  Plus, a nifty fight-song alteration can easily be done.  “Hail to the Traffic.  Hail Victory.  Cars stuck in gridlock.  All throughout D.C.!”

 

 

The Washington Monuments: D.C. already has the Capitals, so this actually isn’t as far of a stretch as the others.  All tourists know the District for the wealth of monuments within its borders.  Who wouldn’t love “Free 1:1000 Scale Washington Monument Plastic Toy Giveaway Night?”

The Washington Griffins:  Robert Griffin III is iconic throughout the District.  Since he’s already deified among the general populous, naming the team after a mythological and magnificent creature that happens to share his name makes sense.  Imagine a team mascot that had the body and back legs of a lion, along with the head, wings, and front feet of an eagle.  They’d undoubtedly win at least 10 games every year due to the bone-chilling intimidation of their uniforms alone. 

The Washington Gandalfs or Merlins:  For some reason, D.C. residents are supposed to share an affinity for wizardry.  How else can you explain the basketball team?  These two stud wizards just happen to be the top masters of their craft and it can be assumed that the fan base among children would experience rapid inflation immediately upon discovering half-time magic shows at every home game. 

From theonering.net

The Washington Nightclubs: Some D.C. athletes take advantage of the local nightclub scene.  Some take a little too much advantage.  What better way to fix that than make every home game the greatest club experience any human being has ever seen?  Helmets could be lined with disco ball material, the field could be outlined with black lights and gloves could shoot out lasers as a football with a firework trail soared through the club-misted sky.  Players would make tackles into giant clouds of foam that were released from the press boxes, and either a never-ending go-go beat or D.C.’s own favorite rapper Wale would play throughout the entirety of the game.  

The Washington Lobbyists: They’re everywhere.

These are clearly the greatest possible name-change solutions that could be thought up and would unquestionably be universally accepted by fans and ownership alike.  Regardless of what side you fall on with the current name, if that day comes when they are no longer called the Washington Redskins, which name would you choose? 

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