My Thoughts on the Upcoming Name Change for the Washington Redskins

This morning, the Washington Redskins announced that they will be changing their team name, which had been in place for 87 years.

I grew up in Virginia, just 2 hours south of Washington DC. Most of my extended family lives in Northern Virginia, and many of them have rooted for the Redskins for a long time. While the San Francisco 49ers are my team, I’m always happy to see when the Redskins do well (which hasn’t been very often for the last few decades).

Washington’s team name has been mired in controversy for quite some time, as it references Native Americans in a way that many view as derogatory (I see it that way, and I think this commentary explains it well from the perspective of one Native American). I last brought up this topic in 2014, at which time I said, “there’s no question in my mind that the right thing to do would be to change the name.”

Despite that, the team owner has dug in his heels a number of times about changing the name. So it was shock, surprise, and elation that I heard the news today. This is really happening! Finally, finally, finally.

While I think it’s long overdue and perhaps due in part to major sponsors of the team voicing their concerns, I think it’s always worth commending someone when they choose to make a positive change. It takes courage to grow, mature, and improve, especially in the public eye.

That leaves us with the question: What will they change the name to? The ESPN article seems to indicate that Washington is considering a military-themed name. Yeah…I’m not a fan of that idea. Football is a sport played for the purpose of entertaining people, while the military has a very different focus. Let’s keep sports fun, starting with the name (though I do like the alliteration of Washington Warriors).

What do you think? Can you think of a good name for a football team with maroon and gold colors?

12 thoughts on “My Thoughts on the Upcoming Name Change for the Washington Redskins”

  1. Re: military theme: the current rumors are that they want to rename to the Washington Red Tails, in honor of the nickname of the Tuskegee Airmen squadron in WWII. It would have the side benefit of having a similar cadence to the current name, and allow use of similar colors for the uniform.

    I dunno if that makes you more or less amenable to a military-themed name…

    • Ken: Interesting. I can see why they might be considering that name, especially given how similar it is to the current name. I’d be fine with that.

  2. I’m not a sports fan, but I celebrate the decision to change the name. I also agree that a military-themed name is inappropriate. Even though football itself is a simulation of combat, I think we need to learn to stop celebrating war. I’ve heard Washington Veterans suggested and perhaps that’s a way to celebrate service members without glorifying war. I still prefer your idea of focusing on the fun of sports.

  3. I went to a Jr. High, a High School and college with Indian nicknames (Indians, Warriors, Fighting Illini). It is time for all of them to be changed. It will be interesting to see the upcoming changes —- KC Chiefs, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida State Seminoles, Cleveland Indians, etc. It will be a boon for creative name contests and merchandise.

    As an Irishman, I am also not a big fan of the “Fighting Irish” name. It is stereotypical and offensive. But first – the indian names.

  4. Perhaps “The Construction Zone” in honor of the fact that I-95/I-495–the capital beltway–has been under construction since we were learning to drive…say, at least 20 years? They could have slogans like “The Construction Zone” will slow even your fastest running backs! Once you enter “The Construction Zone,” you’ll never leave. They could nickname their D-Line “The Capital Beltway” (and they could probably start their own merchandise line of gaudy maroon-and-yellow belts that feature a giant map of the Beltway on WWE-sized/plate-like belt buckles. Perhaps said belt buckles would never 100% close? Their emblem could be a “Slow” sign. Their second jersey could feature a construction worker in a yellow vest holding a “men working” sign (do they have “people working” signs yet?)…potentially while several others sit idly nearby? Their players could have jersey numbers that all ended in “95”. Their halftime show could feature a really small airport that sits awkwardly at midfield and see how many people they could cram into it.

  5. We moved near Richmond a couple years ago. (We’ve got great indoor climbing now; come visit sometime! 😺) As former Cleveland, Ohioans, the Redskins were always second tier cringeworthy after our Chief Wahoo. Now that he’s history, it’s nice to see this go too.


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