They Who Must Not Be Named


I'm an attorney in the greater Washington, DC area. When not busy untangling obscure questions about the American healthcare system I spend my time pondering law and public policy, working on the perfect dead-lift form, and praying that my dedication to the Washington Redskins doesn't result in a heart attack.

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74 Responses

  1. Jay L Gischer says:

    That is a fantastic photo. I like it.

    I like the current logo better than either Chief Nockahoma or the Cleveland mascot. It’s nice to know where it came from. It does kind of play up the “noble savage” stereotype, though.

    I think it might be hard to trust in good faith from the ball club’s management, though.Report

    • InMD in reply to Jay L Gischer says:

      I encourage you to read the whole article in the link if you can. I know it’s long. Times change but I think people who want to change it need to grapple with what it is, not what they assume it to be.

      As for management and their ability to manage this well…. hope springs eternal I guess.Report

  2. Aaron David says:

    They should ask Elizabeth Warren to help them pick a name.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    I’ve seen this Malcolm X quotation thrown around a lot in the days following the George Floyd protests.

    Okay, we’ll get rid of 8 episodes of old sitcoms, we’ll put a special title card before That Scene in Mad Men, and we’ll shore up Police Pensions.


    Okay, fine. We’ll change the Warshington Team name too.


    • InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

      Every day we reach new heights of pandering to the point people are making silly changes no one even asked for (the white voice actors resigning from roles as non-white cartoon characters for example). However part of what’s taking us to some strange places is assuming every issue must be viewed as the same as the struggle for equality by black Americans.

      Like how relevant is what Malxom X is talking about there to the people in question? We absolutely have a moral imperative to treat Native peoples as well as American citizens, and with decency, but it’s also far from clear to me that all tribes have the same perspectives on how engaged to be with our culture. At least some seem to want nothing to do with it. Others of course do want to be involved. We’re talking about sovereign nations enveloped in what is technically a different country.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

      That might be Malcom X’s opinion but I think other African-American activists see the situation differently. They see these symbolic injustices, or to use the proper terminology, underly all the big injustices in society. I’m not necessarily in total agreement and think that what they want is basically unachievable absent some sort of heavy social policing but they have some points. Thoughts and symbols can effect actions. A lot of the stuff I thought was subversively funny as kid or young man just comes across as mean-spirited as best as an adult. Not exactly punching down but sort of an indiscriminate and achieving nothing.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Thomas Hagan, for example.

        I just see us coming out the other side of the George Floyd riots with fewer episodes of old television shows and no other real progress made.

        Hurray! We changed the name of a sport team that I don’t follow that plays in a sport I don’t watch!Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

          The symbolic things happen faster because they are easier to achieve. The real substantive change requires a lot more effort and a lot more time, especially since the police have decided on a maximum resistance strategy and Trump see’s his best chance at re-election as going full on Culture War against liberals, people of color, LGBTI people, and immigrants.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

          Minneapolis voted to abolish their police department and recreate in a more just manner. Colorado is going to end quality immunity,. That is already a lot more substantive change than we’ve seen in the past. More will happen, sooner than latter.Report

        • Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

          Indeed, Jaybird. Apparently Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia just removed the Lethal Weapon Six episodes.Report

    • James K in reply to Jaybird says:

      My main issue with this quote is that it implies a uniformity of purpose with “the white man”. The people who can control sports team names and how TV shows are broadcast don’t have the power to change police policy. They’re probably just mostly trying to make gestures int eh direction of anti-racism and hope an angry mob doesn’t descend on them.

      For the politicians making symbolic gestures though, Malcolm X is dead-on.Report

    • North in reply to Jaybird says:

      Personally I think of it more like a gale. The wind is blowing, stronger and stronger: first the napkins fly off the tables, the chairs tip over, the tables slide, it takes a lot before a ship as big as America actually turns. First a lot of trivial shit gives way first.Report

  4. Kazzy says:

    I have no tribal affiliations which I guess puts me in the second camp. I rarely speak out on the issue because, as you say, it’s complicated and I really don’t have much standing. However, I’m a football fan and the father of a football fan. We talk football… A LOT! But one thing I won’t say as best I can help it is the Washington franchise’s name. So when my son discusses the NFC East, he talked about the Eagles, the Cowboys, the Giants, and Washington. Why? Well, he has asked what their mascot is and why I don’t say it. I answer him honestly: their mascot is the Redskins and I don’t say it — nor do I want you to say it — because many feel it’s an unkind and hurtful way to describe a group of people (he was 6 when these topics came up). It reflects a personal choice. I recognize many folks of Native American background do support and/or appreciate the name. I respect their opinion. But I also know many don’t. Which is enough for me to make the choice not to say it.

    Should they change it? Yea… probably. But that is someone (or someones) else’s decision. My choice is clear: I call them Washington (even though that part ain’t right either).

    PS: Fly, Eagles Fly!!!Report

    • InMD in reply to Kazzy says:

      I said I’m not going to expend energy defending it anymore and I’m not. But if you want to come down here in September, if there’s even a season, let me know. We can have fisticuffs so you feel more at home (kidding obviously).Report

      • Kazzy in reply to InMD says:

        Ha! Sorry… didn’t mean to put you on the defensive. Just sharing my own two-cents, which are much more based in what I’m willing to call the team versus what others ought to.

        I lived in Maryland for a few years and have many MD/DC-area friends. Many are fans of the team and some use the name. I don’t say anything. That’s their choice, I reason.

        I probably HAVE gotten into arguments over it before but similarly have moved beyond that. I make my choice; I let others make their own.Report

        • InMD in reply to Kazzy says:

          No need to apologize at all, seriously! It’s here so people can add their 2 cents. Also I haven’t contributed a post in forever. I felt like I was turning into a free rider.
          Then hey, here comes something I can spill some virtual ink about.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Kazzy says:

      The are calls to rename the New England Patriots because to the virtual signalers, “patriot” now refers to alt-right neo-Nazis. It can’t be long before they get rid of the 49ers because they were greedy capitalist exploiters who displaced indigenous people and raped the land in a desperate rush to gain wealth and white privilege.

      Regarding Dallas, “cowboy” is a derisive term for black slaves who worked on Texas ranches. That’s why the word is “cowboy” instead of “cowman” or some other non-insulting word we’d have coined to refer to whites, like “policeman” and “fireman.”

      The name “Vikings” also upsets me, as they were a vicious, violent people who robbed, murdered, and enslaved my ancestors. Do we need a team that celebrates a racist pagans with a criminal warrior culture? I think not.

      I’m also outraged by the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose name is offensive to everyone who uses BitTorrent.Report

  5. Chip Daniels says:

    Well, of course they are symbolic. I don’t know why people use the word “symbolic” as if it were synonymous with “trivial” when sometimes symbols speak to very powerful things.

    In this case, the reason the symbols are so fraught is that they represent a turning of the cultural tide, where the old default culture is being replaced with a new one.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      In pluralistic society that also values civil liberties, there is a constant tension between who owes who what respect and how much respect is owed. One of the things that gets me angry is that I feel my people, the Jews, operate on the margins of the grand Intersectionality Coalition, roughly POC, LGBTI people, and women, at best or are seen as part of the oppressor class by some of them at worse. This is despite Jewish history. Many members and supporters of the Intersectionality coalition might respond that Jews don’t face the constant harassment that members of the Intersectionality Coalition face so things are different for us because we are whitish. I find this unconvincing but I’m not going to convince anybody of that.

      Like I posted on LGM last night, I’ve recently noticed a lot of Facebook memes aimed at tickling White Evangelical Christians that state there are no White people in the Bible. This was obviously targeted at Jesus the Blond Aryan imagery but it strikes me as sort of erasing Jews from our own holy book, religion, culture, and history. Most of the people in the Bible are either described as Israelites, proto-Jews, or in the later books explicitly as Jews. Yet both sides are using the Bible as a tool in cultural conflicts that have nothing to do with it. If anything the White Evangelicals have an easier time using the word Jew to describe people in the Bible than members of the Grand Intersectional Coalition. It feels terribly insulting and the later should know better. But they don’t.Report

  6. This

    There are hundreds of recognized tribes in the United States, all comprised of individuals. No one speaks for all of them.

    with this

    The Redskins logo was created in consultation with Walter “Blackie” Wetzel, and depicts Blackfeet Chief, John “Two Guns” White Calf. It’s an honorable symbol. Taking it away would erase something that was done right, not correct something that was done wrong.

    To be clear, I don’t believe I have any standing to be offended on behalf of someone else, but I don’t believe my lack of a tribal-membership card means I therefore forfeit any and all prerogative to discern that something is offensive. And yes, I discern that “Redskins” is offensive and should be changed. (I’m not, however, about to expend any resources beyond a blog comment to bring about that outcome.)Report

    • Freeman in reply to gabriel conroy says:

      Exactly. I also note that the author imposes strict racial qualifications on critics without declaring any qualification to defend beyond being a fan.Report

      • InMD in reply to Freeman says:

        No racial qualifications needed. If you tell me you’re a fan and/or willing to become a fan I will hear you out regardless of your background.Report

        • Freeman in reply to InMD says:

          Well I have no bona fide tribal affiliation (the racial qualification I referred to). You now say you would hear me out but according to what you said in the post you’ll immediately blow me off as risible, so what’s the point?Report

    • I know my comment was punchy, perhaps unnecessarily so. I do think a non-stakeholder can legitimately have an opinion and urge a certain outcome.

      At the same time, I realize there is a difference between being a stakeholder, either as a fan or as an American Indian, and being someone like me, who has (as far as I know) no native ancestry and who is only a lukewarm fan of football (and not a Redskins fan anyway). I don’t think the difference means my opinion doesn’t count. But perhaps it means it can be discounted.

      So….I think the name should be changed, but I’m not going to be on the front lines of the campaign to change it. I also think there are worse injustices (if one accepts the name is an injustice) that deserve my or others’ attention first.Report

      • InMD in reply to gabriel conroy says:

        Please, by all means, be punchy! In retrospect maybe I was unfairly dismissive.

        I struggle to see a lot of value in opinions of (i) random person on social media, especially one who seems to be outraged at basically everything and (ii) national writer with a lot of smug things to say but seemingly no insight into the team or expertise on Native peoples.

        See also my response to Freeman below. Can everyone have an opinion? Sure. Is it worth engaging with the least informed such opinions? For me, on this issue, the answer has become no (that was part of my conclusion).

        But the good news for me I suppose is that I will no longer have to.Report

    • KenB in reply to gabriel conroy says:

      to discern that something is offensive.

      This I think is the issue. It’s one thing to say that you or specific others are offended by something, but it’s quite another to say that something “is offensive”. The fact that a native American was consulted in connection with the logo doesn’t magically protect it from being offensive to anyone, but it’s at least one bit of evidence against the idea that one’s own reaction of offense is the only appropriate one.

      cf this SMBC comic.Report

      • gabriel conroy in reply to KenB says:

        I think I agree, but the weird thing is, I go through days, months, probably years at a time without thinking about the Redskins. I probably think about my objections to the name when someone writes a post about the controversy over the name. So it’s kind of hard for me to honestly say “I’m offended” by it.

        But I do find the name offensive. I suppose I believe my own reasons are based on some notion that “offensive” is objectively discernible, or at least discernible by principles I claim to have. At the same time, by calling the name offensive, my intent isn’t to do what that comic suggests it does. Of course, just because it’s not my intent doesn’t mean that isn’t the effect–and I think I agree that such can be the effect.

        I do agree with your point that my reaction (or any one person’s reaction) isn’t necessarily the only appropriate reaction and that the consultation with a Native American probably counts as evidence to that end.

        (I know I’m probably over-analyzing things.)Report

        • KenB in reply to gabriel conroy says:

          Hey, I over-analyze too, it’s one reason why I always make a point to read your comments. 🙂

          You’re right that that comic wasn’t really on point for this discussion. In cases like this it’s more about how to react when X people out of a total of Y object to something — it’s easy to know what to do when X is very small or very large, but there’s no clear path when it’s somewhere in the middle.

          But for those of us not directly involved, it’s good to bear in mind where our concern about offensiveness is based on how we imagine others feel about something, if we haven’t done the legwork yet to determine the value of X.Report

  7. Jesse says:

    Except there shouldn’t be a new stadium at the RFK Stadium site. The RFK Stadium site should be redeveloped into housing, instead of another giveaway for a billionaire owned sports team.Report

  8. Slade the Leveller says:

    It’s kind of amazing to me that this name has lived on for so long. Its longevity is probably due more to stubbornness than anything else. They even lost their trademark for a bit when the USPTO deemed the word to be pejorative.

    As for the stadium, I can’t believe Snyder hasn’t conned some municipality into footing the bill for a new one. I went to a Nationals game there in ’07 and couldn’t believe what a dump it was.Report

    • Ozzzy! in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

      “…when the USPTO deemed the word…”

      Should have gone with securities fraud. EVERYTHING is securities fraud, dotcha know.Report

    • InMD in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

      The National’s game you went to in ’07 would have actually been at RFK. The Redskins left that site in 1996 and currently play at FedEx field in Landover, MD.

      As for the stadium issue it’s been brewing for years. I don’t think anyone was ever happy with where it landed in 1996 but even back then when the team was really popular it was a serious political challenge. It’s only gotten harder and the attempt to play the 3 jurisdictions off each other over the last 10 years has not worked out for them.Report

  9. Freeman says:

    I categorize the critics into two camps. Those with bona fide tribal affiliations, and everyone else.
    The first camp I take with the utmost seriousness.
    That gets me to the second group of the critics, who I find risible… Few of them are fans of the team. Many aren’t fans of football at all. Most importantly, they have no stake in the outcome.

    So are we to assume you have “bona fide tribal affiliations”? What is your stake in the outcome vis-a-vis public characterization of Native peoples? The quote above seems to suggest that football the only aspect of the debate that you really care about.

    Contrary to current fashion there is no righteousness in being offended on behalf of third parties, especially those they know nothing about.

    It’s called “empathy”, which often comes as a result of learning and becoming familiar with the plight of third parties one might otherwise have known little about. What’s wrong with that – too “woke” for you? Where is the “righteousness” in looking for excuses to dismiss the majority of critics (“everyone else” who isn’t “bona fide tribal”) out of hand? How Red must I be to express genuine offense over a blatantly racist and derogatory team name, or how Black to be genuinely offended by one’s use of the N-word?

    “Just a world that we all must share / It’s not enough just to stand and stare / Is it only a dream that there’ll be no more turning away”Report

    • InMD in reply to Freeman says:

      There are two groups who have an actual stake in the debate over the name of this particular team. Mine is my fandom. I’ve done my best to give a fair shake to the different views of Native tribes, but I have no membership, affiliation, or ancestry.

      For everyone else it’s the equivalent of an opinion on a product you have no intention nor openness to buying anyway. Unless I’m wrong and you’re on the waiting list for the new jerseys whenever they come out?Report

      • Freeman in reply to InMD says:

        Well I’m just going to reserve the right to opine on any subject I please and stand up for others when I feel so compelled regardless of my intentions toward some product. You can reserve the right to declare that risible and invalid due to lack of standing, or whatever. You’re probably a decent attorney, but those tactics don’t always play well in the court of public opinion.Report

        • InMD in reply to Freeman says:

          Well this is a ‘culture’ essay not a legal analysis. My opinion is that a certain stance coming from a certain group is hard to take seriously. Too often I see people out there interested in tearing things down without really grappling with the particulars.

          But you’re absolutely right, everyone does have a right to an opinion. Maybe failing to address that issue in more depth is a shortcoming of the piece. Still I assume I’m hardly alone in assigning greater persuasiveness to the views of some and not others, no?Report

          • Freeman in reply to InMD says:

            Fair enough. The categorical dismissal of “everyone else” was what I was pushing back against, and the idea that there is no virtue in standing up for others.

            Still, I note that Native Americans have been asking the team to change the name since the ’60’s, but it wasn’t until FedEx, Nike, and Pepsico asked that team management has taken it under serious consideration. There is a great deal of “everyone else” who have no direct stake in the outcome and likely very little understanding of the particulars pushing large corporations to make a stand. Risible? Perhaps, but I don’t think we can ignore it.Report

            • veronica d in reply to Freeman says:

              I can’t speak for American Indians, but I am very pleased when cis people speak up for trans people. We get a raw deal in society. Having allies is important.

              Why do we need allies? The reason is simple. Trans people are about a half a percent of the population. Likewise, as a group, we tend to be quite poor and marginalized (with obvious exceptions such as myself). Thus it is hard for us to get our voices heard. If the only people advocating for trans rights were trans people, we would never get any rights.

              To cis people: I and many other trans people want you to speak up for us when appropriate.

              When is it appropriate?

              That’s a very good question.


              Regarding the question about the team name, here are the questions I ask myself: How many American Indians are there? What is the distribution of their socioeconomic status? How easily can an average American Indian get their voice heard? How hard is it for them to get their rights recognized? How could I possible get a sense of their various collective feelings on this topic?

              By contrast, how could I discover the various and collective feelings of young disaffected white guys?

              Easy peasy, spend a few days reading video game forums on Reddit, or watch some “how to attract women” videos on YouTube, and then follow the linked videos around. Listen to just about any random stand up comedy dude. It’s easy. The various and collective opinions of disaffected white dudes permeate our culture. They’re unavoidable.

              (Do I need to explain what I mean by “various and collective”? Perhaps that seems like a contradiction, but I think it describes something real. Does everyone get it?)

              Obviously if literally one person was offended by the sports team name, then we shouldn’t change it. We can’t make big decisions because of the concerns of a single person. That would lead to chaos. After all, there are a lot of people and a lot of things to be offended about. Nothing would get done.

              I have zero doubt that there is at least one American Indian person who would get offended if we changed the name — for some reason. People are weird.

              How do we decide what constitutes a slur?

              “Tr@nny” is one of my favorite words. Note however, I can’t type it out here because it is banned on this forum. In fact, it was me who requested that it be banned. Weird, right? Why did I ask the mods to ban one of my favorite words?

              The reason is because a certain poster, no longer on this site, loved to use it as a slur. It was offensive and gross. I got tired of it.

              The “t-bomb” is a slur against trans people. It’s also a really cool word. That’s fucked up.

              Is “redskin” a slur?

              I think so. I guess. How would I know for sure? Should we survey American Indians?

              I suppose, but what percentage of American Indians must agree that it is a slur before we consider it a slur? 50%? 10%?

              “The opinions on non-native people have zero weight.”

              Hmmm. I’m not sure if that is true. If those are arbitrary opinions, sure. If people are “speaking over” native voices, then yes indeed. However, I suspect that American Indians could really use more allies. After all, we broke every single treaty we made with them. They got a raw deal, and the effects of that raw deal are alive today. We have power. They don’t.

              We let them build casinos and sell tax free cigarettes. How nice of us. Pat yourself on the back. Feel good.

              Perhaps we should consider fixing all of our broken promises. Perhaps we should examine the long history of injustice and actually fix what we have done.

              It would be expensive.

              The sports team name — to me it seems like a slur. We should probably change the sports team name to be a non-slur. That would be good.

              Sure, it’s “symbolism” rather than “substantive change.”

              Fine. That’s true. And…?Report

              • InMD in reply to veronica d says:

                I think I’ve gone over that piece of the essay with Freeman and gabriel. It’s a fair criticism that I overstated my case, or at least didn’t break it down enough. Regarding the Redskins name, polls exist. I think the most charitable interpretation possible for the belief that Native peoples find it offensive is that it’s a wash. It’s soon to be a dead debate anyway.

                But you bring up a side point where I’d be really interested in your perspective. I can see very much why Trans persons want others to empathize with them, support their rights, and be willing to take a hard line on it in the culture. The numbers alone make at least some of that necessary.

                But do you ever feel patronized when someone you sense really doesn’t know much about you or the nuances of the issues takes a no-compromise stance and claims to be speaking for you? Maybe the final calculation is that the trade-off is worth it but I’m legitimately curious.Report

              • veronica d in reply to InMD says:

                Oh I definitely feel patronized. In fact, there is this whole complicated discourse about “allies”. It’s really tricky. Trans folks both want and need support from cis folks, but often the people supporting us are narcissistic ding dongs.

                I’ve definitely met “good white liberal” allies who seem to build their identity around their allyship. To them it’s a big deal, and they seem to hunger for some kind of validation — from us. The result is them sucking the oxygen from any conversation. They “speak over” us. Alternatively, for others we become tokens in a bigger political game. It’s dehumanizing.

                There are two concepts of democracy:

                1. People of equal power meeting to hash out political differences.

                2. People of lesser power petitioning those of greater power to recognize their needs.

                The first type seems a lot nicer than the second. The second, however, is what we have.Report

              • Freeman in reply to veronica d says:

                My oldest grandchild has identified as trans since 12 years old (he’s 16 now). His mother was hoping it was a phase, my parents were mortified and are still convinced he’s being influenced by “the latest thing going through the liberal schools”. I just smiled and hugged him and said “Be who you are and be proud of it – you have a lot to be proud of” when he came out. I’ve loved this kid with all my heart since he was the cutest baby girl you ever saw, nothing can change that.

                Support without patronizing? In my experience, what he can appreciate most is simply love and acceptance, and another voice saying “being human means it isn’t cool to discriminate or insult our fellow humans” once in a while when a situation comes up. It takes very little effort and may not sound like much, but I’ve seen how much it can mean. It’s the little things that count, right?Report

  10. Call em the Washington Go Go’s! Cooler name, very regionally relevant, not offensive as all hell, nobody could possibly dislike it.Report

  11. Aaron David says:

    Poll of Native Americans’ view of Redskins name finds “proud” most common answer

    It’s a small poll (500+) but it did find that a whopping 90% of respondents (native Americans of various tribal affiliations) don’t find the team’s name offensive. You can find a greater and more responsive set of complaints about the Cleavland Indians mascot, who coincidentally are also looking to make a change in this area.Report

  12. Slade the Leveller says:

    Maybe they could just go the old timey newspaper route and just be called the Washingtons, or the Washington eleven.Report

    • InMD in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

      The 11 isn’t a terrible idea either. What’s really important is that they keep as much continuity as they can.

      Changing the name seems like this really easy thing to do but the experience with the Bullets/Wizards show how badly it can go. They originally played in the Baltimore Armory (hence Bullets) before relocating to the DC area. When the team moved to downtown DC there was a push to change the name. At the time gun violence was rampant and we got similar emotional pleas about how bad and offensive it was to have a team called the Bullets while people are being shot to death in the streets. That and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin led the owner at the time (Abe Pollin) to open up a review of the name. They landed on the Wizards and did a complete rebrand, colors and all. Who could be upset by that?

      But here’s the funny thing. Within days people were going berserk about how ‘Wizards’ was also offensive due to association with the KKK. You can’t make this stuff up. The new identity never really stuck with long-time fans and in the last few years they’ve gone back to the old Bullets color scheme but kept the Wizards name. It’s a complete mess.

      Obviously horrendous mismanagement of the team and poor performance has not helped the Wizards. But the rebranding ended up not satisfying anyone and as far as popularity the Wizards are a non-entity. We’re more than twenty years out and local sports fans still complain about the name change.

      Now I get that ‘Redskins’ is inconsistent with modern sensibilities but the Bullets/Wizards thing shows how hard it is to rebrand successfully. They’re never going to satisfy the most sensitive person on twitter and I think it’s really important that they not try.Report

      • Slade the Leveller in reply to InMD says:

        My daughter’s college alma mater went through a similar name change a few years back. They were known as the Siwash (which apparently is a corruption of savage), and Prairie Fire was chosen as the new nickname. The old alums still use Siwash and disdain Prairie Fire. People who never knew them as Siwash are perfectly fine with Prairie Fire. It’s all a perception thing, and I guess in the grand scheme of things what we call our sports teams is pretty small beer.

        One of the smartest naming things was when Baltimore had a CFL team after the Colts moved to Indy. The PA announcer would just say Baltimore and leave a pause for the crowd to yell Colts before continuing with the rest of the announcement.Report

        • Aaron David in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

          There is a street in San Fransisco that was named Army. And that is how we got to my fathers aunts house, by taking the Army exit. It was renamed at some point to Cesar Chavez, but the offramp sign listed both (with Army in Parenthesis) I still think of it as Army. But, when I moved to Sacramento, I often drove up and down Martin Luther King Blvd. And I have no idea what that street was named before it was changed.Report

      • Freeman in reply to InMD says:

        Yes, that’s going to be a thing to consider. It’s going to be expensive anyway, so let’s hope they don’t skimp on market research. Wizards is an excellent example, not offensive at first glance and I wouldn’t have thought of it (unless they designated a Grand Wizard or something), but I can understand the KKK association once the objection is raised by one more experienced with the darker side of the use of the word.

        I’ve read that team management would prefer to go with a different, unoffensive Native American themed name and keep the team colors and logos. As a Chiefs fan this has a nice ring to it and I have no doubt the vast majority of Redskins fans would also prefer it, but I must warn that it risks a similar fate as the Bullets/Wizards example, possibly putting the team under sustained pressure to change it again. The Redskins are unique in that they represent the nation’s capitol and that particular name has a derogatory history, but Native American organizations have also raised objections to some of the Chiefs’ uses of Native symbology. Though I haven’t yet seen much pressure to change the name, the team has made several significant adjustments, most notably the mascot change to KC Wolf, but otherwise there’s only so much they can do. Right now the biggest objections are regarding the fans’ use of face paint and the “tomahawk chop”, which the team now officially discourages and no longer participates in, nevertheless we all heard it often during the recent Superbowl, even when the Chiefs were behind. And I must confess I’ve loved the “chop” and participated many times, but I get it, especially the face painting stuff, which seems like harmless fun too but can you imagine fans showing up for a game in blackface?

        So maybe this comes to my team as well. Personally I don’t care if they’re renamed the KC Squirrels (but better steer clear of names like Racoons so we don’t end up in a similar jam). I love my team and I’ll happily buy the new stadium jacket and jerseys and peel off my Arrowhead decals, replacing them with whatever comes next, though it would be nice to retain the team colors, as my Pickup and my Harley are both red, chosen for a reason. But not everyone here shares my attitude and I would expect the non-enforceable things like spontaneous tomahawk chop chants from the crowd to continue for quite some time to come no matter what team management does to discourage it.Report

        • InMD in reply to Freeman says:

          I’m in the same position. My strong preference would be to find a way to continue the motif while just changing the name which, like it or not, has an expressly racial reference. One plus for the Redskins is we have no mascot and there is no tradition of tomahawk chops or chants, though we have had some of the headdress stuff.

          But to your point, it’s far from clear to me that the Chiefs and Braves and Blackhawks, etc. aren’t next. You guys are in a better situation because the franchise is not only good and has the best player in the league, but also hasn’t spent 20 years destroying the good will of everyone, including the NFL and the sponsors. We shall see.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to InMD says:

            It’s no loss if the Braves stop the chant and the chop, any more than it was when Chief Noc-A-Homa went away. (He used to emerge from his teepee and do a “war dance” when they hit a home run. I am not making this up.) And I’d be fine if they went back to being the Beaneaters.Report

          • Freeman in reply to InMD says:

            We loves our Mahomes! Got him signed for the next 12 years! Got most of last year’s core team! Got Andy Reid! Sure looking forward to this season – sure hope we have one!

            It was a long 50 years waiting for the Chiefs to put together another Superbowl team. Hopefully you won’t have to wait so long (though it might be at least 12 more years, we Chiefs fans hope!).Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to InMD says:

        “Within days people were going berserk about how ‘Wizards’ was also offensive due to association with the KKK. You can’t make this stuff up.”

        (makes the ‘OK’ sign with his fingers) oh, I certainly believe that people who want to find Devil-Worshiping Secret Racist Codes in things will be able to find them.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to InMD says:

        And Stanford enrollment dropped 50% when they became the Cardinal.Report

  13. In exchange for the name change, the NFL must agree to use all of its power to lobby for a stadium at the old RFK site

    They should build their own damned stadium, as should every other sports team.Report

  14. George Turner says:

    They can get rid of the controversy by just changing their logo to a wine-colored Mr. Potato Head. Who doesn’t like red skin potatoes?Report

  15. How about the Rednecks?

    * The team can keep its color scheme.
    * It’s a group that’s not itself sensitive to ethnic slurs.
    * It’s not a group that SJWs will be offended on behalf of.

    And there’s no need to design a logo; they can license Cletus from the Simpsons.Report

  16. Brandon Berg says:

    That “Vikings” sign is a real head-scratcher. Scandinavians are still around, millions of them in the US. The Minnesota Vikings were named that because of the large population of Scandinavians in Minnesota.Report