Offended by ‘Washington Redskins’?
For any true Washington football fan, last week's season opener was a disaster. Philadelphia delivered an athletic beatdown on my beloved burgundy-and-gold the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Gus Frerotte era. Quarterback (and possible messiah) Robert Griffin III was reduced to a shell of his former self — a rocket ship turned into a paper airplane.
Worst of all, though, was that my glorious hometown team continued to call itself the most racist name in all of sports.
Still? For real???
I mean, I know team owner Dan Snyder saya the name isn’t offensive because it “honors Native Americans.” Here’s the thing, though. I don’t like the team name Seminoles either, but at least that’s a real tribe. I’ve never heard someone say, “Why yes, actually I am of Redskin heritage.”
OK, some people will admit, the word may be a little derogatory. And yes, it may cover up fun little things like forced adoptions and smallpox blankets. But if we were going to change the name, what would we change it to?
Now that is a great question. One that I’ve thought over for many a season, from the hallowed days of Doug Williams to the dark ages of Rex Grossman. And after years of study, I am prepared to offer these five team name suggestions that more accurately represent the state of affairs in our nation’s capital:
5. Washington Gentrifiers
A way to honor the city’s flood of new white-collar residents and million-dollar condos, the Washington Gentrifiers is a name meant for intimidation. Watch out Dallas, not only are we going to beat you – we’re going to take over your city and displace you out to (gasp) the suburbs. Yes, our dear old Chocolate City may now be more of a Neapolitan Metropolis – which doesn’t make for as good a George Clinton song. But think of the benefits of being the Gentrifiers! Instead of beer and hotdogs at that next tailgating party, you can cheer on your favorite team with $20 martinis and quinoa patties.
4. Washington Drones
Perfect for all the techies and weapons manufacturers that populate Washington (OK, Northern Virginia), the Drones would change more than just the team’s name. It’d change how they play the game itself. Robert Griffin III wouldn’t have to throw the ball anymore. No, the ball would fly itself through the air, remotely controlled from a command center somewhere in Nevada. I just wouldn’t want to be in the stadium when it hit the ground.
3. Washington Wiretappers
Hey Eli Manning, you always wanted to be on the same team as your big brother? That’s cool, my team IS Big Brother. The Washington Wiretappers name would honor the brave men and women of America’s unconstitutional intelligence agencies. You think Bill Belicheck was on to something with the Spygate scandal? Wait till Mike Shanahan teams up with the CIA. Super Bowl rings here we come, complete with a complementary Supreme Court trial for each title.
2. Washington (We Don’t Have No) Senators
Paying homage to the city’s original baseball team, the Washington Senators, this name honors the brilliant idea that residents of our nation’s capital should have no representatives in Congress. How awesome is America? I sure don’t know any other country that has the balls to have 600,000 people live in the ‘capital of democracy’ without the right to vote. This name just fits, especially when you’ve got an owner like Dan Snyder already running the team like a dictatorship.
1. Washington Cracker-Ass Crackers
We saved the best for last. This name pays tribute to all the honest, big-hearted white people who have called Washington home for over 200 years. From slave-owning presidents like Thomas Jefferson to apartheid-supporting presidents like Ronald Reagan. (Hey, we named an airport after him!) As a white person myself, I would feel proud to see the Cracker-Ass Crackers take the field each week in pursuit of championship glory. With a name like that, the team would soon come to rule the NFL, knocking out opponents with an aggressive game plan and precise, almost violent execution. Because hey, that’s what Cracker-Ass Crackers do.
And no one could possibly be offended by a name like that.
Josh Healey is a writer, performer, and creative activist. He lives in Oakland, CA. @mrjoshhealey
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