In sports, your team name is (or at least should be) a source of pride, the symbol that brings people together to lift a team on its shoulders. It starts when we’re as young as five and lasts through the rest of our lives; cheering for pee-wee leagues, our schools, and professional teams. Some names even resonate with an entire nation and around the world, whether they’re beloved or despised. Some of the names that come to mind right away are the Cowboys, Yankees, and Bulls. Maybe you’ve always wondered how did these team names come about and if they will ever change. We know now at least one team had to.
All In the Name: Why So Long?
Redskins No More
On Monday, the Washington football team have retired their name and logo after 87 years. This after a decades-long fight over the offensive nature of the name to the Native American community. The issue even went to the Supreme Court in 2009 and it was ruled that Washington could keep the name. Owner Daniel Snyder recently doubled down on insisting the name wouldn’t be changed. When sponsors FedEx, Nike, and PepsiCo threatened to pull their support, Mr. Snyder made a change.
If you’re curious, the term is offensive because it’s associated with the scalping of native Americans as a bounty. In their culture, being called that is derogatory. It was only right to change the name with an unprecedented focus on social justice right now.
Will This Be A Trend?
It’s long been said that a lot of Native Americans find having sports teams and mascots named after and imitating them demeaning. In 2007, the University of Illinois dropped Native American mascot Chief Illiniwek after 81 years. That fight that started in 1989. Yet we have a few teams professionally that have those cultural monikers.
We have the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, and reigning Super Bowl champ Kansas City Chiefs; two baseball teams and a football team respectively. The Chiefs at least seem to be more of a name of endearment but we’ll just have to see what changes are made moving forward.
Let’s Play the Name Game
Here’s a fun fact, the football team was not the city’s first professional sports team to change its name because of social consciousness. 23 years ago, the Washington Bullets changed their name to ‘Wizards’. Rising gun violence in the nation’s capital brought about the change. Their approach to the name change was unique as well, an 800-number was set up for the community to call in and vote on a list of names.
What will the new name for the Washington football franchise be? Here is a list of suitable names that would fit. Since both the NBA and WNBA teams have magical themed names, Wizards and Mystics, that’s where we’ll start. The Washington Warlocks with there logo being a warlock character holding a football-shaped crystal ball (a personal favorite). Next, the Washington Wave, crashing through the NFC East. Sounds like a fun start. Lastly the Washington Wasps (that’s stings!). That may be a reach but hey, there’s a pro team called the Pelicans.
What would your name be for the franchise?