As they say, money talks. After years of saying the name will never be changed, Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder has said the organization is conducting a thorough review of the name. This came after the team was told by Washington, D.C. officials they would not be allowed to lease a proposed new stadium near the site of R.F.K. Stadium unless and until the name is changed.
In addition, some major sponsors, including FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo, asked the team to change the name after letter-writing campaigns from investors. These investors and their firms are worth an estimated $620 billion.
Some ideas for a new name are floating around. “Hogs” is a popular one, given that it refers to the Washington linemen who powered the team to Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s. Another one is “Redtails.” This was the nickname of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. These black pilots distinguished themselves in Europe, and their P-38 fighter planes were painted with distinctive red tails.
Unlike Redskins, which is considered a racial slur, Redtails would be honoring some of America’s best in World War II, some of whom were from Washington.
Maybe they could call the team what the Germans called the Tuskegee Airmen and their P-38s: the Fork-Tailed Devils.
Whatever the name is changed to, it looks like change will be coming for Washington’s NFL franchise.
Apparently, the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball are also considering changing the name. They already dropped their mascot, Chief Wahoo. You may recall a while back I suggested changing the name to the Cleveland Fellers. This would be honoring perhaps the greatest player in Cleveland’s history, pitcher Bob Feller.
This whole business of changing names reminds me of a column I did some years ago about naming a team after my ethnic group, the Germans. I’d call them “The Krauts.”
Boy, could we have fun with ethnic stereotypes with that one!
The mascot would be a spike-helmeted character in Lederhosen with a monocle who goose-steps up and down the field. If this was football, we could call him Baron von Touchdown. For baseball, he’d be Baron von Over-the-Wall.
If we had cheerleaders, they’d come goose-stepping onto the field in their little field gray uniforms with spike helmets and red, black and gold pom-pons.
The spikes would be optional on the helmets of the players.
Beer, bratwurst, sauerkraut, pretzels and pumpernickel would be the staple items at the concession stands.
Perhaps one of the cheers from the audience would be “Achtung! Achtung!” The organist could play “Deutschland Uber Alles” when they scored a touchdown in football or hit a home run in baseball.
Okay, I’m getting silly here. I think, however, you can see my point. Engaging in stereotypical behavior regarding Germans would be ridiculous. It’s just as ridiculous to engage in stereotypical behavior when it comes to Native Americans.
Let’s hope this all works out for the best for these franchises. The past glories for these teams should be remembered, but they also need to look forward. As a wise man once said, the future is where we’ll be spending the rest of our lives.