The Washington Redskins have the worst team name in sports. I write that as a former fan of the team and as someone who grew up in Washington D.C. Owned by the unlikable Daniel Snyder, the team has been an embarrassment under his ownership and a joke in D.C. For years, Snyder refused to change the team’s undeniably offensive team name. Soon he might have to change it, finally.
A Change is Coming
“We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER,” Snyder once told USA Today. “You can use caps.” Everyone else knew if Snyder wanted to get the team out of Virginia, where nobody wants to drive to go see a boring game. If Snyder wanted to move the team to the nation’s capital, he’d have to change the team name. The city wouldn’t allow the team’s name in their city, and that’s what’s happening right now.
With the team’s time almost up in Virginia and Snyder thinking about a move, a new name is inevitable. Hopefully, Snyder — a filthy rich white guy — finally realizes a team named after a longtime racial slur for Native Americans is not appropriate.
Snyder wants to move the Skins from Ashburn, Virginia, to Washington D.C., where the team originally played on RFK Field. All 190 acres of land are owned by the federal government. D.C. officials are telling Snyder he’ll have to change the name or go elsewhere if he wants to play in D.C. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democative representative for D.C. in the house of representatives, is pushing for change. D.C. Deputy Mayor, John Falcicchio, is doing the same, as he told The Washington Post:
“I call on Dan Snyder once again to face that reality, since he does still desperately want to be in the nation’s capital. He has got a problem he can’t get around, and he particularly can’t get around it today, after the George Floyd killing. There is no viable path, locally or federally, for the Washington football team to return to Washington, D.C., without first changing the team name.”
Snyder is a businessman. He probably won’t change the name because it’s the right thing to do, but because he needs a change and fans in seats. Over the past few seasons, Fedex field has been a ghost town with all its empty seats. It’s embarrassing.
If the team moved to D.C. and near a metro station, crowd attendance would be a different story. Snyder wants to move the team to the city, so he’ll have to change the name eventually. Native American Groups and 50 senators have called for the change, plus 87 investment firms are now calling for major sponsors to cut ties with the team.
A Terrible Team Name
Nobody in their right mind defends the team name, with the exception of maybe actor Matthew McConaughey. The actor once said the team’s name “put a fire in his belly,” whatever that means. He’s a legit Skins fan, but still, it’s baffling and disappointing McConaughey of all people once not only defended the name but praised it. Years ago, a man did an experiment in D.C. by walking around with a shirt that read “Caucasians.” As you can imagine, it didn’t go over well with white people walking the streets, proving his point.
The team’s logo and colors are strong and iconic. They could be preserved with a new name. Real fans of the team usually don’t even say the full team name anyway. Most people call them “the skins.” Plus, nowadays, people rarely even talk about the team because they so rarely provide excitement or fun, mostly just disappointment.