It's time for the Washington Redskins to shed their offensive, inappropriate nickname. And it turns out that there is the perfect replacement floating out there for the team to use.
The Washington Bravehearts.
It's perfect. It has a nice ring to it, it actually honors Native Americans and it allows the team to preserve its history while gracefully moving away from a nickname that has long outstayed its welcome.
So how did the Bravehearts nickname surface? Well, on Friday, TMZ Sports reported the following:
Here's what we know. Redskins owner Dan Snyder lives in Potomac, Maryland, a few doors down from a very rich dude, Aris Mardirossian. Aris, a wealthy patent investor, registered the name, WASHINGTON BRAVEHEARTS on October 17th. According to the Trademark application, obtained by TMZSports, Aris plans to use the name for "Entertainment in the nature of football games."
Aris also created a company called Washington Brave Hearts, LLC on the same day -- Oct. 17th. We've also obtained the LLC docs but there are no specifics.
However, team spokesman Tony Wyllie went on ESPN 980′s Inside the Locker Room and vehemently denied any connection to the Bravehearts nickname, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post:
I just want to set the record straight for everyone listening, just to let you know that there is absolutely NO connection between the Washington Bravehearts and the person that registered that trademark, and the Washington Redskins.
I’m letting you know right now there’s no connection at all whatsoever between the organization and the registration of that trademark. In fact, the person that’s reported in that story, the alleged neighbor of Daniel Snyder, Dan doesn’t even know the man. So I just want to let you know, Dan [doesn't] know the man, so please, people, stop panicking, there’s no connection.”
Yes, please stop panicking—your offensive nickname is safe for now, Redskins defenders.
Sure, the team could also go with something more generic like Warriors, but that's been done countless times. Bravehearts would be unique, and instantly conveys a positive feeling.
Since a spirited debate about why the current nickname is or isn't appropriate is bound to erupt in the comments, I highly recommend everyone read Ty Schalter's excellent and comprehensive article on the history of the nickname.
One important note in that piece is that the man who named the team—owner George Preston Marshall—was a renowned racist and had to be forced to allow African-Americans to play for his team in 1961.
It's hard to imagine that the man who wrote in his will that the Redskins Foundation he created with his estate should never fund "any purpose which supports or employs the principle of racial integration in any form" created a nickname that honored Native American culture.
It's also important to note that quantitative polls or surveys aren't the be-all, end-all in this argument. Even if a majority of people don't feel the nickname isn't offensive, that doesn't mean we should diminish the beliefs of the countless people who are offended by it.
And no, this isn't a case of people being too "politically correct." There is a difference between political correctness and cultural sensitivity. In a country that is literally formed by every culture in the world, it's important to consider what is and isn't offensive or derogatory to people with different backgrounds than our own.
Whenever the political correctness argument is levied in this debate, it always feels like people are saying, "Well, the name Redskins isn't offensive to me or the culture I've grown up in, so anyone who is offended is just being politically correct."
It's not only an over-simplification, but it also presumes that the opinions or belief systems of one culture are more justified than that of others.
So, Daniel Snyder could continue to say "Never" when presented with the opportunity to change this team name. Or, he could take on a name like Bravehearts that both acknowledges the history of the team and does so in an appropriate, honorary way (and probably makes Mardirossian a few bucks in the process).
It's not a difficult decision. But it is a decision that Snyder and his organization will likely continue to fight until it becomes financially unwise to do so.
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