Here in the 21st century, there is a growing sentiment that the Washington Redskins should finally adopt a less offensive team name. DC mayor Vincent Gray wants the name changed. Longtime DC newsman and real-life Sugar Bear Jim Vance wants the name changed. And Mike Florio wants RGIII to want the name changed.
All this hasn't stopped the Redskins (and at least one player) from attempting to awkwardly justify the nickname in every way possible. And today, they posted on their official team website a breathtakingly tone-deaf excuse that basically amounts to, "Hey, high schools do it, too!":
Redskins.com found that there are almost as many schools using the name Redskins as Cowboys, as only 75 schools use the name Cowboys, and interestingly just 19 use the name Giants.
Read that again. That sentence was almost certainly composed by a seventh grader. Anyway, this remarkable new evidence makes it clear that if we're gonna change an NFL team's name, it should be to the Giants! High school teens think the name Redskins is way more cool and extreme.
It's worth noting, too, that Dan Snyder has aggressively targeted people who have used the Redskins name without consent in the past. It's actually something of a miracle that he didn't attempt to sue these poor schools into oblivion before using them as human PR shields.
Coshocton High School is located in east central Ohio which has a rich Native American history. (AD George) Hemming said "the name represents to us competition and pride."
In eastern Ohio, the name Redskins was adopted by Indian Creek High School in 1993.
Principal Steve Cowser said... the name shows their "pride for the Native Americans and how they lived."
It will shock you to learn that neither Cowser nor Hemming are of Native American descent. You'll notice that both men use the word "pride" as an empty platitude when attempting to spin the unspinnable. "We're really proud of these people we know nothing about!" NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also barfed up a similar talking point when publicly defending the name, using his patented lifeless delivery:
"I think Dan Snyder and the organization have made it very clear that they are proud of that name and that heritage, and I think the fans are, too."
In this case, pride means virtually nothing. A team could be nicknamed the Buttchuggers and people associated with it would still be "proud" of them, whatever the hell that means. The Eagles are a proud franchise. The Giants are a proud franchise. Pride is the single most abundant commodity in the sporting universe. It has about as much value as a Canadian penny. Furthermore, you can clumsily justify virtually any long-standing practice just by saying the words "pride" and "heritage," as if the history of having a remarkably offensive team name somehow renders it inoffensive, which is logic for stupid people.
Of course, none of this really has anything to do with pride. The reason Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell are both loath to change the name "Redskins" is because the Washington Redskins brand is worth over a billion dollars, and changing the team name would have a (likely temporary) negative impact on the franchise's brand equity. There are firms that manage the monetary value of a brand's name and they have almost certainly told Snyder that changing the team name would decrease the value of his investment by X percent. You only change the name when there's a real brand crisis (RG3's knee? HORSEMEAT), and right now the financial impact from people bitching about the name is minimal compared with the possible backlash from old-time fans who are so "proud" of cheering for the Redskins.
Never mind that this is purely hypothetical brand value, and that Snyder would continue minting cash as the owner of the Washington Pigskins. He'd still be able to charge a zillion dollars for parking, and no sane Skins fan would decide to root against RG3 simply because the team name was different. But that theoretical (and again, likely temporary) dip in brand value is enough to make Snyder and Goodell complete pussies who use words like "pride" to stonewall when it comes to doing the right thing. Consider, for example, the dogshit ending to the Redskins' press release:
These schools' athletes have a deep connection, just as the Washington Redskins alumni, and many high school student-athletes have pride in calling themselves Redskins.
So there you have it. Think the name is offensive? PRIDE AND CONNECTIONS AND WE'RE NEVER CHANGING THE NAME SO GO FUCK YOURSELF.