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If there is one truism about Washington it’s that money talks. It talks so loudly that even iron held positions can be reversed, flipped and scrubbed away.
“We’ll never change the name,” Washington owner Dan Snyder told USA Today in 2013 of the “Redskins." “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
Well, never is a long time (or SEVEN years) and it has a price tag, of course. In recent days major corporate partners such as FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo began severing ties and asking others to sever ties with the franchise unless it changed the name.
On Friday, the team all but announced it would, saying the current name is headed for a “review.”
“In light of recent events around the country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name,” the statement read. “This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.”
There is almost zero chance the review will side with the status quo.
This one is all but over. It’s how it works. Change comes very, very slowly and then all at once. NASCAR banned the Confederate flag. The State of Mississippi redesigned theirs. Things that never were supposed to happen, did.
Money matters in the end, more than principle. That’s the reality of entrenched positions. This is America, after all.
Essentially, they K-Streeted the name.
There will be celebrations but also howling. There will be protests and even sworn off fandom. There will be those cursing the “cancel culture” that each side of the political spectrum loves to swing. Indeed, some will cancel their own association with the team because the team canceled the name because corporations canceled their checks because they were worried customers would cancel purchases.
There will be those who continue to swear the term isn’t racist, let alone insulting, confrontational or just plain rude.
You can debate it all amongst yourselves. Getting this upset over a team name seems like a waste of energy but, this is America and a lot of you care more deeply about this than that sorry franchise does about winning.
Consider this though, even if you can dig up some poll or find a Native American who isn’t offended, if you happened to walk up upon a group of Native Americans, would you greet them by shouting, “Hey, Redskins"?
Would you do so believing you were conveying actual respect? Would you think that was a welcoming gesture?
Maybe the bar shouldn’t just be some universal agreement about racist or not racist (which, of course, is impossible) and just an attempt at being … nice or polite?
Right. America. Neither nice nor polite is our thing.
Whatever. It won’t take long before people stop caring, forget about the old name and, eventually, are stunned it lasted this long. The games will go on. Washington might even win some of them.
That this came now is a testament to Snyder finally getting hit hard enough in his pocket. There is enough pressure that he and his all caps pronouncements are going to disappear like the principles of a bought off pol up on Capitol Hill.
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said in a statement.
In other words, please keep the spigot coming and hope for public funding of a new stadium on the table.
“The issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military,” head coach Ron Rivera said.
The franchise should continue to support Native American causes. It’s done good and admirable work for disadvantaged communities. Snyder should be applauded for that. The real world efforts matter.
What the Redskins name had to do with honoring the (Capital M)ilitary requires further explanation, but if so, the team should be supporting it as well. Maybe even with the new name.
The Harlem Globetrotters ruined the “Washington Generals” but something along those lines might work.
Or something more appropriate for the nation’s capital? Washington Gridlock? Washington Lobbyists? Washington Partisanship? Washington Corruption?
“We believe this new review can and will be conducted with the best interest of all involved,” the team stated.
It will be in the best interest of Dan Snyder’s money, which is always what mattered the most.
America, you know.
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