Posts Tagged ‘racial slurs’

The NFL in DC: ‘Washington Football Team’

July 24, 2020

The NFL in DC: 'Washington Football Team'

The DC NFL team has replaced its racist name with a generic one: “Washington Football Team.” If only they could replace Dan Snyder with a generic “Washington Football Team Owner.”


“Washington NFL team to temporarily rebrand as ‘Washington Football Team.'” Orion Rummler, Axios

“NFL franchise to go by ‘Washington Football Team’ this season, delaying permanent name change,” Les Carpenter and Mark Maske, Washington Post

“Washington NFL team to use ‘Washington Football Team’ for 2020 season,” Adam Schefter, ESPN

“D.C. NFL Team To Call Itself ‘Washington Football Team’ In 2020 Until New Name Is Decided,” Jordan Pascale, DCist

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Image (“New DC NFL Uniform”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Renaming the DC NFL Team

July 8, 2020

Renaming the DC NFL Team

Last week, DC’s professional foorball team announced that its name, an historic racial slur, was “under review,” evoking the image of a booth full of league replay officials staring at a slo-mo recording of the letters r-e-d-s-k-i-n-s. Owner Dan Snyder once said he would “NEVER change the name of the team,” but that play is clearly out-of-bounds in today’s climate of heightened racial awareness.

It wasn’t the death of George Floyd or kneeling team players that changed Snyder’s narrow mind, but his own bottom linesponsors, investors, and business partners are applying pressure. Nike, Target, Walmart, Amazon, and Dick’s Sporting Goods have removed DC team-branded merchandise from their websites and stores. How’s this for irony: FedEx, which owns naming rights for the DC squad’s stadium, now wants the team to change its own name.

Although nobody has suggested renaming the squad “Washington Rappas” in honor of the region’s Rappahannock people, there is no shortage of suggested team names and logos. The current fan favorite is “Washington Redtails,” after WWII’s African American 332nd Fighter Group (maybe you saw the movie). In an only-in-Washington move, two local lawyers have already submitted a trademark application for “Washington Redtails.” Hey, how about calling the team “The Litigators”?

A name change is expected by September.


“D.C. NFL Team Considering Name Change After Public And Corporate Outcry,” Eliza Berkon, WAMU

“An NFL Name Change That Has Been a Long Time Coming,” Leonard Shapiro, Washington City Paper

“FedEx asks ‘the team in Washington’ to dump racist nickname as Nike pulls gear,” The Guardian

“Daniel Snyder no longer has a choice, and he knows it. Battle over name has reached its endgame.” Jerry Brewer, Washington Post

“Lawmakers And FedEx Urge D.C.’s NFL Team To Change Its Name Amid Bid For RFK Stadium,” Kavitha Cardoza, DCist

“Trump Supports Washington Team Name. Retailers Pull Merchandise.” Ken Belsen, New York Times


“FedEx Made a Demand Dan Snyder Couldn’t Afford to Dismiss,” Ken Belson and Kevin Draper, New York Times



What’s In a Name? Plenty.

September 27, 2014


“‘Daily Show’ airs segment pitting Redskins fans against Native Americans,” Ian Shapira, Washington Post


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If Obama Owned DC’s NFL Team

October 6, 2013

If Obama Owned DC's NFK Team In an interview with AP’s Julie Pace on Friday, President Obama said he would “think about changing” the Washington NFL team’s racist name if he owned the pro football franchise. “I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things,” said the president, who went on to praise the team’s loyal fan base.


Oneida Nation Takes on the DC R-Word

September 8, 2013

Oneida Nation Takes on the DC R-Word

The Oneida Indian Nation has kicked off a campaign to pressure Washington’s pro football team into changing its name. “Using a slur and making a mascot out of our indigenous culture has no place in such a society,” says Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. “We believe that with the help of our fellow professional football fans, we can get the NFL to realize the error of its ways and make a very simple change.”

When DC’s NFL team opens its season against the Eagles at home this Monday, a “Change the Mascot” radio spot will run on  all-news WTOP and sports-talk WJFK. When the team goes on the road, so will the radio campaign to end use of this trademarked racial slur.

Billionaire team owner Dan Snyder claims Native Americans don’t see the name as derogatory, but the Oneidas see otherwise. Judging by coverage of this issue in Indian Country Today, they are not alone.


DC Councilman: ‘Change That Shameful Name’

May 2, 2013

DC Councilman: 'Change That Shameful Name'

District of Columbia Councilman David Grosso has introduced a resolution that Washington’s professional football team should change its racist, derogatory name, the one beginning with “R.” It’s a non-binding resolution, to say the least; the team doesn’t even play in DC anymore.

Removing Native American slurs and stereotypes from sports nicknames and mascots has been a nationwide trend, but the second part of Mr. Grosso’s resolution is a bit arcane, and puzzles lots of folks. He suggests changing the team’s name to “Washington Redtails.” This is in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, African American pilots of World War II. While more people should know about the Airmen, even the few who do don’t know that “Red Tails” was their nickname, unless they saw the flop movie of the same name.


Congress: No Protection for Shameful Racist NFL Symbols

March 22, 2013

Congressional Bill to Ban Shameful Racist NFL Symbols

The U. S. Patent Office’s Trial and Appeal Board can’t decide if the DC NFL team name R-word slur deserves government protection, so members of Congress want to clarify it. Del. Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) has introduced HR 1278 – Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act of 2013. Co-sponsors include co-chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Betty McCollum (D, MN-4) as well as Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Raul Grijalva (D, AZ-7), Karen Bass (D, CA-37), John Lewis (D, GA-5), Gwen Moore (D, WI-4), Donna Christenson (D-Virgin Islands), Michael Honda (D, CA-17).

The bill has been endorsed by the National Congress of American Indians, International Indian Treaty Council, the Wisconsin Indian Education Association, and the Morning Star Institute. “It’s wonderful to have such distinguished and courageous members of Congress stand up for us to oppose this indefensible racial epithet,” said Institute President Susan Harjo. “I hope this helps to open the eyes of those who have not seen or who have refused to see the harm this does to our young people.”


New NFL Uniforms for DC

April 4, 2012

New NFL Uniforms for DC
Washington DC’s allegedly professional football team, the one with the racist name and the worst record in the NFL, has decided to stop embarrassing itself on the field and will now compete on the fashion runway. In a partnership with Portland-area couturier Nike, the oversized athletes will sport new designer ensembles as they lumber across your television screen this fall in a version of reality show America’s Next Top Model. Inexplicably loyal fans will want to compost their old replica team jerseys and buy new ones to profit billionaire team owner Dan Snyder, widely recognized as the worst owner in the NFL.


“Court Won’t Block State Vote on ‘Fighting Sioux’ Name,” Inside Higher Ed


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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