Rounding Up Redskins Name Change Suggestions from Around the Web

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Rounding Up Redskins Name Change Suggestions from Around the Web
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

As the Washington Redskins name controversy rages on, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Daniel Snyder want to get together to talk about it. 

According to John Keim of ESPN.com, "Dan Snyder will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell this week before the league speaks with representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation regarding the team's nickname."

Ever wonder what possible name changes Washington may consider?

Here's a round-up of name change suggestions from around the web. 

Per Chris Lingebach of CBSDC.com99Designs.com ran a contest asking designers to re-brand the Redskins, and the name "Warriors" emerged as the winner.

The victorious designer named "Mixaurus" incorporated the Washington Monument and the Pentagon into the logo, which also formed a "W."

/Getty Images

The Washington "Redtails" received an honorable mention award, as designer "mbingcrosby" paid homage to the African-American pilots who fought in World War II. 

Other favorites of the 99Designs.com team included the "Renegades," "Generals" and "Griffins." The latter would be a remarkable branding opportunity for the team's quarterback, that's for sure. 

Jay Busbee of Yahoo Sports compiled some of the more creative names, helmet and uniform designs from the 99Designs.com contest. 

In January of 2013, Neil Irvin of The Washington Post wrote a column about the Redskins name and came to a brilliant solution.

Fully understanding how offensive the word "Redskins" is to Native Americans yet how valuable it has become from a marketing standpoint, Irvin suggested a simple change to "Skins." 

He explained his proposal: 

Plain old “Skins.” It is a bit of a nonsense word for a mascot, but then so is the name of the Cleveland Browns (named for first head coach Paul Brown), or the New York Knicks (technically short for Knickerbockers, but just see how many fans at Madison Square Garden can tell you what a knickerbocker is).

Keep the burgundy and gold color scheme. Replace the face of an Indian chief on the helmet and logo with a picture of a football. Lose the Native American imagery altogether.

A logical way to completely remove the derogatory connotation of Washington's current nickname with a simple shortening.

Sports Illustrated's Don Banks had the same idea, and he wrote about in a guest column for MMQB.com.

This was the reasoning behind Banks' suggestion: 

The subtraction of three letters—RED—simultaneously addresses the two most important issues being argued over in this debate: It removes from Washington’s nickname the offensive part of the word that describes a Native American’s skin color. And yet, it maintains part of the name that the team has been known as since the franchise moved from Boston in the late 1930s. A Redskins fan has already called their team the ‘Skins for probably as long as they’ve been fans. It’s not a drastic, wholesale change to another name, and it leaves Washington with some ability to give a nod to its team history and identity.

In June, BusinessWeek.com asked Lexicon Branding—"the firm that came up with the names BlackBerry, Febreze, OnStar, Pentium and FiOS—to cook up some new monikers for the team."

"Then, James Skiles, creative director at Phoenix Design Works—maker of logos for hundreds of pro and college teams, including the Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia 76ers—drew logos to match."

The four suggestions were as follows:

  • D.C. Rocs - "Initial R maintains connection to Redskins heritage. Allows for rallying phrase “Washington D.C. Rocks!” 
  • Washington Metros - "No NFL team name starts with an M. Sounds modern, sleek and powerful."
  • Washington Leopards - "Mind share with existing Bengals, Jaguars, Lions and Panthers. Keeps the new name in the “expected” range for pro football franchises.
  • Washington Skins - "Widely recognized current team nickname. Possible high acceptance among die-hard fans."

The "Skins" change seems to be the most widely accepted and would likely be the least damaging to the Redskins' current brand. 

As it's already a frequently used nickname, "Skins" makes the most sense. That re-branding of Washington wouldn't frustrate loyal fans of the team, and the "Skins" is easily and harmlessly relatable to the game of football itself. 

Though it wasn't demeaning an ethic group, in baseball, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays removed "Devil" in 2007 without any backlash from fans. The subtle alteration rid the team's name of any negative association, and the shortening has been successful.

It remains to be seen if Snyder and the NFL will budge on the long-standing, offensive nickname of Washington D.C.'s professional football team. 

However, plenty of suggestions out there seem very reasonable.

 

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