After years of controversy, it seems like Washington’s NFL franchise will finally change its nickname.
The old nickname was offensive. Sponsors pressured the team. Apparel companies started removing team gear from their sites. Politicians waved the carrot of a new stadium at the RFK Stadium site once the name is changed. This time around, it was more than just talk. The pressure was real. It seems inevitable now.
Washington coach Ron Rivera said he hopes the name change happens before the season. For that to happen, the team would need to decide fast. Training camp is supposed to start in less than a month.
With that in mind, let’s give Daniel Snyder a hand and come up with the best suggestion.
Warriors looked like early favorite
Most of the early evidence pointed to Snyder settling on Washington Warriors.
In the team’s statement that said it would review the name, Rivera is quoted as saying the new name should continue “the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military.” Maybe that’s a hint that Warriors could be the pick.
The Washington Post said Snyder planned to use the Washington Warriors name for an expansion Arena Football League team he bought the rights to in 1999, though the team never came to be.
But ESPN reported on Wednesday that the team is having discussions about a new name with no Native American imagery, so a different name could end up emerging.
RedTails has support, too
The story of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American fighter pilots in World War II, was told in the 2012 movie “Red Tails.” That’s as close as Washington will get to the old name, while turning a negative into a positive. It would also honor the military, which based on the team’s statement is important in choosing the new name.
Whether it’s RedTails, Redtails or Red Tails, the name would seem like an easy transition and could become popular fast. Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. would be in favor.
Rivera told the Washington Post he really liked two of the names that have been proposed, though he wouldn’t divulge which ones. It’s a good guess that the two leaders are “Warriors” and “RedTails.”
Other names could be fun
“Hogs” has been mentioned more than a few times. It was the nickname of the team’s great offensive line in the 1980s. And just think of the logo possibilities.
Washington Generals was a popular suggestion. It’s the name of the basketball team that has played the foil to the Harlem Globetrotters for years. While it’s a cool name with some history, it’s unlikely the NFL team would want to share a name with a team that has lost to the Globetrotters roughly a million times. There would also be some confusion and likely trademark issues.
When Washington got a Major League Baseball team, the franchise chose Nationals as their name. That means Washington Senators, the name of the longtime American League team that called D.C. home until 1960, is still open.
Redhawks would also sound like the old name. That’s the route the University of Miami (Ohio) went when it changed nicknames in the late 1990s.
A change is likely coming, whether it’s before this season starts or shortly after. Snyder needs to get it right. Presumably this new nickname is going to stick awhile.
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