Washington NFL Team Will Finally Change Name, Hopefully Not To Another Racial Slur
This morning, the leadership of the Washington Redsk*ns announced that, after conducting the thorough review they somehow hadn't gotten around to in the many decades that the team's name has been criticized for being racist, they would finally be changing their name and logo to something that is not a racial slur and racist caricature.
Well, we hope so anyway. We can't yet necessarily be sure that they won't just change it to the Washington Dagos, and not all of us would put it past owner Dan Snyder to do that, but ideally that is not what will happen.
The official statement, printed on letterhead featuring the current team name and mascot, reads:
On July 3rd, we announced the commencement of a thorough review of the team's name. That review has begun in earnest. As part of this process, we want to keep our sponsors, fans and community apprised of our thinking as we go forward.
Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redsk*ns name and logo upon completion of this review.
Dan Snyder and Coach Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.
It's a start, we suppose.
You will note that "sponsors" keeps coming first — likely because it was pressure from both sponsors and the makers of NFL apparel and paraphernalia that really ended up inspiring this "review" that they have finally "begun in earnest." FedEx, which owns the naming rights to the team's stadium, had been pressuring them to change the name. Nike said it would no longer manufacture their products and Amazon said it would stop selling them.
All the protests and outrage over the last several decades did nothing, other than prompt Dan Snyder to hire fake Native Americans to come out publicly saying they support the team being named that. Even with all of the current outcry now over rooting out the vestiges of racism in marketing, with Aunt Jemima entering retirement, it is likely that without that financial pressure, Snyder never would have changed anything. As he has done before, he probably would have just waited it out and hoped for people to jump on something new and leave him alone for another year. But now that it's getting him in the wallet, he's singing a different tune.
The fact is, "vote with your feet, vote with your dollar" is still the most effective way to get things to change. There are always going to be people — like Snyder, it seems — who will never be moved by compassion or empathy or even logic and reason. Who will never be motivated by a sense of fairness. And who, frankly, will never listen. The only way to get them to change is by making "not changing" too expensive to not bother.
When asked what Donald Trump's response to the name change was, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that while she hadn't discussed it with him today, they did discuss it last week and that he said "he believes that the Native American community would be very angry at this."
#BREAKING: Press Sec. Kayleigh McEnany responds to Washington's NFL team name change: "[President Trump] says that… https://t.co/Rmag9WKCvK— The Hill (@The Hill) 1594662799.0
And sure! Who can blame him for wanting to live in a world where people actually love being called the racial slurs that he would enjoy calling them? He would probably really like that. It would be a good time for him, just like it is whenever he finds Black people who tell him he's not racist. Alas, it seems fair to say that is almost definitely not the case, and also that it is very odd of him to think he can speak for the Native American community.
Oh well, OPEN THREAD.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse