The pressure is on.
President Obama suggested they change.
49 senators asked them to change.
And even WWE fighter “Bad News” Barrett called the Redskins “racist.”
Or should I write, Red*****? In June, the United States Patent and Trademark office declared the eighty year-old football nickname “disparaging” to Native Americans, as they immediately stripped the franchise of its trademark registration.
Owner of the Redskins, Dan Snyder, however, has relentlessly refused to change the name.
“Digging on our heels and pissing on public opinion is what the Washington Redskins are all about!” says Eric Cartman, South Park’s foul-mouthed fourth grader, as he mocks Snyder’s stubbornness. Cartman and the South Crew crew delivered a hilarious and impressive blow to the Redskin’s franchise, bringing accusations against the franchise back on the table.
As a branding firm, we like naming things. So, though a name change isn’t mandatory, we’ve done our homework, researched other suggestions, brainstormed our own, and are offering some brand examples.
To qualify for the new name, we created three categories of names:
Native American Heritage
Yes, we know “Redskins” is on trial because it offends Native Americans. The Washington football franchise, however, has deep roots with Native American culture, starting with their original name–the Braves–and continuing with their first head coach, the Native American “Lone Star” Dietz. Plus, hundreds of Redskins fans are Native Americans, which is why the name change is so important. So we shouldn’t burn ties with Native American names. We just won’t choose a potentially offensive name.
Buccaneers, Titans, Patriots, Raiders. Football nicknames usually connote strength. No football team wants to be called the “Ladybugs,” or the “Mathematicians.” They want something that can be chanted, something that can be screamed from stands and stadiums, something that can motivate a club to run, score, and tackle. Football fans want fightin’ names.
We’re creative people, so we enjoy disrupting traditions a bit. Thus, we created a few names that don’t fit the usual animals / aggressive football nicknames.
Our Name Suggestions
Without further ado, I present you with our suggested nicknames:
“Washington Warriors” rolls off the tongue. Warriors are brave, experienced fighters. With strength, with pride, Warriors continues the Native American heritage and is a fightin’ name. Plus, Warriors is abstract enough to dodge potential racism.
Since Washington D.C. is the “Rome” of America, the Washington Gladiators is fitting. A nice fightin’ name, Gladiators sounds like a team we’d proudly support.
Another innovative technique: name your team after a number. 49ers. 76ers. DCXI? Professional football is played with 11 players, the ball is about 11 inches, and come on: DCXI looks pretty awesome.
Tribes are families. Continuing the Native American heritage, “Washington Tribe” includes everyone. Again, the name is abstract enough to dodge racism.
Washington Football Club
An easy way to name a team: don’t. Classic, original, and simple to remember, Washington Football Club would stand out from other nicknames.
A Fight for Survival
Though pressured by most of the world, Redskins fans have not given up.
As their website says, “We are confident we will prevail once again and that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Boards’ divided ruling will be overturned on appeal. This case is no different than an earlier case, where the Board cancelled the Redskins’ trademark registrations, and where a federal district court disagreed and reversed the Board.”
So though any of these names could replace Redskins, Washington ultimately makes the choice. Of these five, which one do you like the best?