It is time for a change in Washington.
Nope, this has nothing to do with politics. Well, actually it does.
Change is definitely needed in D.C., but I will shut up and type.
This is about a nickname for the NFL team in town.
Redskins has run its course.
Washington has done this before, most recently with the city’s NBA team in 1997. Once the team moved from Chicago to Baltimore in 1963, the nickname became the Bullets. First, Baltimore Bullets, then Capital Bullets, followed by Washington Bullets, for 34 years.
That changed 23 years ago when ownership decided that Bullets had too much of a connection to gun violence in the Nation’s Capital.
Wizards seemed catchy at the time, rolling off the tongue after Washington. That was the choice over the Express, Stallions, Dragons and Sea Dogs. (There aren’t many of the latter three in Washington).
While it hasn’t helped the performance on the court or reduced the gun violence, it was the politically correct move to make.
Washington’s NFL team was born in Boston in 1932 and was known as the Braves, followed by the Redskins in 1933-36. The team moved to Washington in ‘37, stuck with the Redskins and has remained the same ever since.
For the last 83 years, the Redskins have continued to exist in Washington. It has come under attack over those eight decades as being demeaning to Native Americans, but no effort has seriously been made to change the name.
That time has come. With the current political and racial unrest in America, what finally seemed to attract the attention of owner Daniel Snyder are sponsors threatening to pull millions in advertising and financing from his team.
His hopes for a new stadium at the site of the old RFK Stadium could be at stake. Money talks, and this time it is bringing change.
There are numerous team nicknames that are said to result in division, including the Braves, Seminoles, Indians, Chiefs and more, but none has received as much pushback as the Redskins.
It seems to go with the city they play in. The term Redskins has become as much a part of Washington as the historic buildings that dominate the city’s landscape.
There are new nicknames that seem to fit, but many have already been taken or have been used in the past.
Stay away from the Generals, all the Washington Generals have done is lose some 19,000 times over 68 years against the Harlem Globetrotters, who are apparently agreeable to sell the Washington franchise that nickname. Don’t expect Snyder to pay for that.
There were the Federals, the USFL franchise that spent two seasons in Washington. How about the Senators? They were a very bad baseball team that spent 59 years in Washington before moving to Minnesota.
The Capitals are the NHL team in Washington that won its first Stanley Cup in 2018. The Nationals are the baseball team that moved from Montreal to Washington, finally winning its first World Series last October.
Whatever the nickname is, it needs to be unique. We have enough Panthers, Tigers, Bulldogs, Eagles and Wildcats.
How about something unique, something catchy like Rajun’ Cajuns, Banana Slugs, Crimson Tide - I had to get that one in there - Camels, Kangaroos and Roadrunners. None seem to cause discord, although some Cajuns might not like being called Rajun’.
What could be the new nickname in Washington. Just a few thoughts. How about The Swamp, RedHawks, Protestors, Filibusters, Monuments, Politicians, Hogs (re: Grimm, May, Jacoby), The Posse (re: Monk, Clark, Sanders) or so many more, but they need something that has the complete opposite meaning of the Redskins.
There have been plenty of recommendations. In order to avoid controversy, it could just be called D.C. Washington, which is too close to D.C. United, the name of the professional soccer team in town.
Here is a nickname I came upon in doing research for this column. How about Red Tails? That was the nickname of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of mainly African-American military pilots who fought in World War II.
Perfect. The official colors wouldn’t even have to change much, from a shade of burgundy to red, along with the traditional gold and white.
There is another reason it will work. There was a time years ago when I was a fan of the Redskins. They still have one of the best fight songs in all sports. That could remain too, with a couple of minor changes.
How about “Hail to the Red Tails.” You could change the third line to Brave men on the Warpath or change Warpath to something else. It can be adjusted.
Will this help the Washington NFL team perform better on the field?
Don’t count on it. They have been dreadful since Snyder bought the team in 1999, having played in seven playoff games in 20 years, winning two of them, the last coming in 2005.
Looking for a nickname that won’t bother anyone at all? How about no nickname at all? Just called it the Washington Football Club or Club Washington.
If that doesn’t work, just pick Panthers or Eagles and move on. At least that will be one less thing to complain about in our world.
There are plenty more.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: BHCWoodson | (276) 645-2543
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