Op-Ed: Marshalling One Key Vote On An NFL Team Name Change - Leesburg Today Online—Daily News Coverage of Loudoun County, Leesburg, Ashburn: Letters

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Op-Ed: Marshalling One Key Vote On An NFL Team Name Change

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Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 1:05 pm

At a tailgate party during the Middleburg spring races, a woman walked up and introduced herself, wondering if I was the same reporter who used to cover the National Football League and the local pro football team for The Washington Post.

The answer was yes, at which point, long-time Washingtonian Jordan Wright told me she was the granddaughter of George Preston Marshall, the original owner of the Washington (pardon the derogatory expression) Redskins when he moved the team here from Boston back in 1937.

We had a perfectly pleasant chat, recalling that many of the same people who used to work for Marshall were still on the job for the team when I covered it in the 1970s. Finally, though, I couldn’t help myself. I had to ask. What about this whole team name controversy, I wondered, fully expecting she’d be soundly in favor of the status quo.

Not so.

“They need to change the name,” she said. “In this day and age, it’s just not right.”

After reading an earnest letter written recently by Bruce Allen, general manager of Washington’s NFL franchise, in response to 50 United States senators urging current team owner Daniel Snyder to change the name, I thought about Jordan Wright’s comment, and also contemplated all the wonderful benefits a name change would produce for Snyder and the entire organization.

Just think about all the fabulous fallout that could benefit Washington’s favorite football team and its beleaguered owner if he finally reversed his field.

Surely he’d be praised by President Obama, all those senators and the entire Congress, a vast majority of the media, the D.C. City Council and virtually every major Native American organization in the country for doing the right and honorable thing. A Nobel Peace Prize might not quite be in order, but surely the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Organization of Women and many others would invite him to accept their humanitarian of the year awards, both locally and nationally.

A man some have said is among the worst owners in all of professional sports could also go a long way toward improving his own public image. Perhaps Snyder might even earn consideration as Sports Illustrated’s 2014 Sportsman of the Year for such a magnanimous and conscience-driven decision to finally right what many—including George Preston Marshall’s granddaughter for goodness sake—believe is a terrible wrong.

Priests, ministers, rabbis and imams would praise him from pulpits coast to coast.

The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, would single him out at next spring’s NFL owners meetings. He’d laud Snyder’s courage in the face of the probable wrath of some long-time Washington fans by taking a risky leap of faith in believing that the vast majority of football followers would applaud his historic move.

Surely Snyder’s fellow owners would rise as one to offer a spirited standing ovation during their opening session, something he’s probably never experienced since the day he bought the team in 1999. Maybe, just maybe, they’d even reward him with the 2019 Super Bowl to be played at FedEx Field, as he’s always dreamed about.

It also goes without saying that Snyder, always a bottom-line kind of guy, would reap a huge financial windfall with a name change. Just think about all those new, re-branded football jerseys, T-shirts, caps and countless other logo-centric paraphernalia that would fly off the shelves as followers of Washington’s team showed their allegiance with their credit cards, the better to wear the official new name proudly.

There might be ramifications on the field as well for a team that has only been to the playoffs four times in Snyder’s often-cited reign of error, never advancing to a conference title game or Super Bowl.

After all, wasn’t it Bruce Allen’s own father, late Hall of Famer George Allen, who constantly moaned about “distractions” affecting his team when he served as Washington’s head coach from 1971 through the 1977 season?

Wouldn’t a name change immediately eliminate that always touchy question current players and coaches are constantly being asked by the media and many fans any time the controversy bubbles up? Change the name and clearly erase a huge distraction.

This team is now starting yet another new era, with yet another new head coach in charge, a luminous young quarterback with seemingly unlimited potential apparently healthy again and an improved roster that may very well contend for a playoff spot in what is perceived as one of the league’s weakest divisions.

Wouldn’t a name change also produce some wonderful new karma around that locker room, add even more positive thinking to a team looking for a fresh start heading into the 2014 season?

And wouldn’t George Preston Marshall’s granddaughter be delighted as well?

Welcome to the discussion.


  • norges53 posted at 10:36 am on Sat, Jul 26, 2014.

    norges53 Posts: 673

    Who knew that when the gunny made the Geico commercial that the term jack wagon would be synonymous with Mark Warner voters and Delgaudio recall petitioners?

  • norges53 posted at 9:03 am on Fri, Jul 25, 2014.

    norges53 Posts: 673

    Does anyone have the website that shows Delgaudio holding a "Dewey defeats Truman" newspaper in his left hand and a "Remove Delgaudio" bumper sticker in his right hand?

  • norges53 posted at 2:22 pm on Wed, Jul 23, 2014.

    norges53 Posts: 673

    Those here who are willing to change the name are the same group members that now have buyers remorse over the President. Trying to push the owner around is silly if you would have offered him money to begin with he might of been willing to play. Dan S didn't make his money cause he is a cupcake!

  • LTWolf posted at 9:14 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    LTWolf Posts: 52

    I figure the Washington Redskins should probably change there name. Right after the NAACP changes theirs since by definition the acronym now contains an outdated and offensive term for most of us. Or is selective political correctness in play. Just wondering.........

  • westLOUDOUNer posted at 9:56 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    westLOUDOUNer Posts: 1021

    Exactly LD - Though I'm not particularly offended when called a Cracker, there are many-many people that are.

  • local-dad posted at 9:32 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    local-dad Posts: 779

    So WL was not trying to be funny. I find it sad that people like WL cannot distrinquish between common words that might have multiple uses and words that only have one, derogatory meaning. Yes, R-S is the name of the team. That is the point here. R-S only has one meaning (I am not accepting your "joke" about potatos), skin color.

    Regarding the topic on a larger scale. It matters little if many people are not offended by the term, even if they are native Americans themselves. It matter much that many people ARE offended, even if they are NOT native Americans.

  • westLOUDOUNer posted at 8:44 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    westLOUDOUNer Posts: 1021

    sorry - "Petition"

  • westLOUDOUNer posted at 8:43 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    westLOUDOUNer Posts: 1021

    So there is no confusion, "Cracker" is part of their product name. Typically, most people recognize the main usage of Redskins as:
    1. noun: name of the Washington NFL Team.
    2. adverb: Idaho potato

    I'll not potition the music industry as I am not so petty or thin skinned (or wafer) as to take any offense by any of these names.

  • Glory posted at 8:26 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Glory Posts: 985

    Great article.

    Common mixup - confusing product (crackers or biscuits, team) with brand (Nabisco or Keebler, rskins, etc).

    Typically, we recognize main usage as:
    noun: cracker; plural noun: crackers
a thin, crisp wafer often eaten with cheese or other savory toppings.

    Petition the music industry if you object to other, defamatory usage.

  • westLOUDOUNer posted at 7:43 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    westLOUDOUNer Posts: 1021

    I don't write the definitions. Cracker is used by blacks as a slur to describe whites (or the color of their skin). They use it in their day to day speech as well as in their songs (which they sell for profit). So how is that not any different? Why should a corporation profit by using a racial slur as part of their product name?

  • local-dad posted at 9:12 pm on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    local-dad Posts: 779

    I am, not sure if WestL is trying to be funny of simply wants to spread more hate. It is the name that is hurtful. There is no other way to interpret the name than as a remark about native Americans skin color.

    If you are serious about the word Cracker, then I expect you are unable to understand the point. If you are trying to be funny, then please try original material or at least give us a hint about your aspirations.

  • tanda posted at 8:02 am on Sat, Jul 19, 2014.

    tanda Posts: 6

    I'm confused. The tone sometimes sounds sarcastic in the exaggerated rewards Dan Snyder stands to gain from the name change, but sometimes sounds genuine in recounting a supposedly real conversation. Strange to read an opinion column and not understand the author's opinion.

  • westLOUDOUNer posted at 2:30 pm on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    westLOUDOUNer Posts: 1021

    Yet by definition, Nabisco, Keebler, Kellogg's, Mondelez International, Otis Spunkmeyer and Pepperidge Farms are allowed to market products with disparaging and offensive names:

    Cracker(s) - Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. a poor white person living in some rural parts of the southeastern U.S. or (s) a slang word for insane or crazy person.

    It's not the name, but how it is used. The word "Reskins" in the Washington team name is NOT used as a slur.

  • JonathanWeintraub posted at 5:25 pm on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    JonathanWeintraub Posts: 278

    Wonderful writing. Can you send a note to the Loudoun County BoS asking them to rescind their stupid, racist, ham-handed "Support the Washington -------------- franchise" resolution?

  • AFF posted at 2:23 pm on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    AFF Posts: 131

    On your point re increased merchandise sales from changing the name-

    I too had wondered why Syder didn't change the name to make more money selling jerseys. As it turns out, the NFL has a revenue sharing deal between the teams. Teams share the profits from merchandise sales equally.

    Who would have thought the "non-profit" NFL would be supportive of such a socialistic model?

  • norges53 posted at 1:22 pm on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    norges53 Posts: 673


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