Last week in this space I weighed in on the Redskins nickname controversy that reached a fevered pitch this offseason. ESPN Magazine Senior Writer Peter Keating wrote a piece not only stating of course ‘Redskins’ is racist, but also illustrates that a name change not only wouldn’t cost money (as the league and team have claimed) but could even provide a financial boost.
Then Slate officially announced they will no longer use the word “Redskins”
Earlier in the offseason, there was Business Week’s (weak) attempt at offering some new names along with some professionally designed logo designs. The Leopards? The Rocs? I’m not really feeling any of those.
I consider myself non-violent (and we know the NFL is really trying to crack down on the violence), so I hate to beat this to death. And real football is coming soon, so hopefully this is the last I’ll write on this topic. But I figured it might be fun to give some thought to what names Washington could consider if they ever decided to finally ditch the”Redskins” moniker.
They certainly could and should keep the burgundy and gold color scheme. It would be cool if they managed to find a new name that starts with the letter R so they could use the old yellow R helmets or at least use the iconic R hats worn by Joe Gibbs. Fitting the bill for an R name:
Redtails: This name was actually recommended by a DC City Council member who hoped submitting a resolution could help force the name change. It’s supposed to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, the pioneering African-American pilots who served in WWII. It’s a nice thought, but sounds a little forced. “Redtails” just doesn’t have much of a ring to it. And let’s see if we can just get them to stop using someone’s culture as a sports logo and not try to push them so far to actually honor another minority group. Baby steps.
Renegades: We often think of renegades as some sort of violent gang, but most dictionaries define renegade as a person who abandons the religious, political, or philosophical beliefs that he or she used to have, and accepts opposing or different beliefs. Agreeing to change the name of his team would certainly make Snyder a bit or a renegade, by that definition. I’m not sure where they would go with the logo, but “Renegades”certainly sounds like a typical pro sports team name.
If they really wanted an “R” name that would somehow tie into the history of football in Washington, how bout:
Riggos: Named after legendary player and larger-than life personality John Riggins. Not sure if his smirk would look good as the helmet logo, so maybe they could just use the infamous picture of him shedding a Dolphins would-be tackler on the game-breaking play from Super Bowl XVII.
Or they could double-down on their bet that Robert Griffin III will bring future glories and just rename themselves the RG3’s.
As for some other non-R name ideas:
Braves: This was the original name of the football team before it moved from Boston to Washington. Obviously baseball’s Atlanta Braves already exist (and use Native American imagery and weaponry in their logos. So while “bravery” and “Home of the Brave”certainly work as concepts for our nation’s capital, it might be best to avoid this one.
Speaking of bravery, you know they would come up with some generic patriotic name like Capitals and Nationals. I could see all of us throwing up when they get renamed the Freedom and they get a red/white/blue make over that looks like when FedEx and the US Post Office designed the Texans and Patriots unis.
Warriors: Good alliteration with the two W’s in Washington Warriors, but also a subtle connection to the Native “warriors” who were allegedly supposed to be honored by the name Redskins. I always liked Washington’s 1960s uniforms with the “spear-feather” helmet similar to Florida State University’s logo, and that throwback look would offer a nod to the old team while making some visual sense with the new Warriors name. But, if (IF) Washington ever changed the name of this team, I would guess they wouldn’t keep any hint of spears, feathers, or other Native American imagery. And no matter what party is in power, there are always plenty of warriors in Washington. This is another one already in use by the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, but it sounds a lot better than the Washington Wallstreets.
Hogs: Former nickname for the 1980s-era offensive lines that anchored their Super Bowl teams. Not sure how sleek and marketable a hog would look as a helmet logo, but there’s certainly lots of political “pork”that comes out of Washington so it works on a few levels.
Pigskins: This is a common nickname for the football itself, and a subtle tie-in to the Hogs glory days. But would the logo be a pig or a football? Or some cartoonish combination?
If getting Snyder and the league to change their stance and change the name has proven to be next to impossible so far, well, thinking of a good replacement name might be almost as difficult (as evidenced by my suggestions above). And if Slate, the City Paper, and several other outlets are going to stop using the name “Redskins” and if Snyder refuses to find a new name, perhaps they should just go with no name. Or, more accurately, they could rebrand themselves as the Washington Football Club, or FC Washington, like many soccer (football) teams do. FC-DC!
If none of this will suffice, they could just go with Orangeskins, and use Mike Shanahanâ€™s famously sun-kissed face as the logo.