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Monday, August 12, 2013

The team formerly known as...

I've almost completely stopped reading Slate. My doctor says I need to get my blood pressure down and frankly, I'm pretty sure the job description for writers at Slate includes the words, "Write your articles to be as blatantly controversial as humanly possible in order to cause our readers' blood pressure to elevate by at least 50 points (systolic)."

I caved this morning and read an article entitled, "The Washington _______________". The tag line clarified, "Why Slate will no longer refer to Washington’s NFL team as the Redskins."

I didn't even need to read the article, penned by Slate's blood pressure terrorist-in-chief David Plotz. Every single article I've ever read by Plotz I've disagreed with. He's like the anti-X.

For $21 million, I'll play for a team named after a racial slur?

In this day and age when we can all take principled stands against such things, why didn't highly coveted Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III include a clause in his contract stipulating the Redskins had to change their name? "Sure, I'd love to play in our nation's capitol! I'll accept $21 million over four years and, oh yeah, you guys need to change your name or the deal's off. I cannot in good conscience play for a team that disrespects Native American heritage."

This is PC run amok. There have been similar moves in Florida to force FSU (Florida State University) to change their team nickname (Seminoles); yet Chief Osceola still rides his distinctive Appaloosa Renegade out onto the field before every home game and plants the flaming spear into the turf at midfield, literally throwing down the battle challenge to FSU's opponents while more than 82,000 screaming fanatics do the "tomahawk chop" and chant (see also Atlanta Braves, just without the flaming spear).

Look out Chief, your next...

No one in their right mind believes that anyone associated with the Washington Redskins organization is a racist, Native American hater. Whatever the original motivation for the name was, the team's traditions have long-since outgrown any negative connotations.

Just to set the record straight. I'm totally with the Native Americans in our country. Tribes all over the land received significantly raw deals from the US Government. Their treatment at the hands of settlers, the US Army and various mercenary forces was indefensible. Maybe Daniel Snyder, the Redskin's owner could pledge a portion of the team's profits to help underprivileged Native Americans. I believe that would be a much worthier tribute than the witch hunt attempt to get the team's name changed.

And you just know what's going to happen if the name-change precedent is set. If we go down this path, what other teams should be looking over their shoulders and thinking about new names?

1. Cleveland Browns: Obviously something sinister is going on here; Cleveland took the sly route by just naming their team after a color without associating the color with anything specific.

2. Houston Texans: A clear slap in the face to Dallas Cowboy fans who believe THEY are the only real football team in Texas. Perhaps America's Team is taking the moral high ground and letting Houston have Texas - since the Cowboys have the rest of the country.

3. Tennessee Titans: Nobody likes giants (David vs. Goliath, Greek Mythology, etc.) and the flaming thumbtack logo is hideous. Maybe this isn't offensive but just really bad marketing.
Go, er, you flaming thumbtacks...

4. Kansas City Chiefs: You know it's coming. If the Redskins are forced to change their name, the Chiefs are next!

5. Oakland Raiders: Go back into history and ask the millions of people who were raped, pillaged and plundered, how much they enjoyed it. Unless you're a masochist, goth or suffering from a John Madden hangover, you don't like the Raiders anyway, so a name change is called for.

6. Dallas Cowboys: If you can't have teams named after Native Americans (Indians), you can't have teams named after Cowboys. How many of us grew up playing Cowboys and...never mind.

7. New York Giants: (See Tennessee Titans). Wait a minute; after seeing Eli and the Mannings' latest rap commercial for DirecTV, I think the Giants should be forced to change their name as punishment.

8. Minnesota Vikings: (See Oakland Raiders, only more so).

I don't want my kids growing up thinking this is okay

9. New Orleans Saints: These guys should be sued for false advertising for sure. How about making them change their name to "New Orleans Sinners"?

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (See Raiders and Vikings). Okay, Buccaneers aren't quite as bloodthirsty as Raiders and Vikings, but they aren't choirboys either.

11. San Francisco 49rs: Really? How long before the gentile folks of Northern California demand a name change so their team isn't named after a bunch of hard-drinking, money-grabbing opportunists? How about the "San Francisco 9th Circuit Court of Appealers"? Okay, maybe 49rs isn't so bad...

There are currently 32 NFL teams. People may not agree with my eleven choices for name change candidates. Heck, the ASPCA and PETA might weigh in on the fifteen franchises who use animal names for their teams. I mean, seriously, what self-respecting Tiger would want to be associated with the Cincinnati Bengals anyway?

What do you think?


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