The NFL Franchise in D.C. Is Once Again Facing a Naming Controversy – and the New Suggestion Is Remarkable


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The NFL has grappled with the embarrassment of the team in Washington, and that era of confounding activity only continues.

This weekend, the NFL preseason commences, and with it, a new/old controversy emerges. The NFL franchise in the nation’s capital has been an enduring migraine for the football league. Possibly seen as fitting, considering the city it is located within houses the infamous chaos and dysfunction that is the nation’s government, the franchise has been a mess for years, with hopes a fresh ownership group will correct the course and, at the very least, bring respectability if not immediate success. But, as a sign of what this cleanup project entails, the new management is once again facing outside pressure to satisfy perceived offenses.

There are most certainly bigger issues afoot for the new arrivals who have been handed the keys, so a brand new call to change the team’s name is likely lower on their list of concerns.

In any sport, you are likely to find those franchises which seem to languish on a perennial basis. The Cincinnati Reds are a quarter century from their last playoff win, and the Oakland A’s have not had success in baseball’s post-season for some time as the team struggles with where they will play in the future. In the NHL, the Phoenix Coyotes have never been to the Stanley Cup, have only had three winning records in the last 12 seasons, and have been relegated to playing in a 5,000-seat college hockey rink. The New Orleans Pelicans, over the past 15 years, have never finished better than 6th place, with a lone playoff series win in that span.

In the NFL, there are a few flagging franchises as well. The Houston Texans have become also-rans over the past few years, the New York Jets can rarely get out of their own way, and futility is the definition of the Detroit Lions, as they have not won a playoff game in 30 years. But as far as embarrassments on and off the field, few can approach the dismay witnessed in the nation’s capital over the past decade. 

Non-descript rosters, infrequent winning seasons, and nearly two decades from the last post-season success (with one playoff appearance while sporting a losing record) have almost been eclipsed by numerous front-office scandals, eventually leading to an ownership change away from the embattled Daniel Snyder regime.

The organization was long investigated for a culture of sexual harassment, there was another investigation over financial chicanery on the part of Snyder, and the franchise was fined by the league, leading to the owners in the NFL pressuring Snyder to sell the team last year to be rid of his problems for good.

Let’s face it, you have to see it as an issue when the ownership is called to go into town and testify before Congress over the way you are running a franchise into the ground.

APTOPIX Washington Commanders Football
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Another sign of the mismanagement is that the team is currently sporting its third name in the span of four years. After enduring years of pressure to alter the mascot name from the Redskins, Snyder — who had long pledged never to change the moniker — probably hoped to smooth over some of the controversies by appeasing the critics. But his move could be seen as being either quixotic or antagonistic, as he stripped away the allegedly-offensive name but did not replace it. For two seasons, they were simply called “The Washington Football Team.”

Then last year, they finally unveiled the new name and logo, The Washington Commanders. This was a rather underwhelming choice, considering a core of the fanbase was angling for a regional canine name, the Red Wolves. Making the new unveiling even more tepid was the unimpressive use of a stylized “W” as the new team logo, barely a step away from the two years of being a generic team with only plater numbers on the sides of the helmets.

But now, the embattled organization is facing a renewed effort to compel the franchise to change the name of the team once again. It is a familiar complaint, it is being lodged by a familiar demographic, and they are calling for the team to be rechristened with a familiar mascot. Believe it when you see it – Native American groups are calling for the NFL’s Washington team to once again be called the Redskins.

The Native American Guardians Association has issued a letter in which it calls for the team to be rebranded back to its original name to properly represent the original settlers of the country. The founder and President of NAGA notes that much of the controversy of the old team name, while spearheaded by some Indian activists, was mostly fueled by Non-NA individuals, citing a survey conducted by The Washington Post that revealed 90 percent of Native Americans were fine with the name, with most citing it as a point of pride.

At this moment in history, we are formally requesting that the team revitalize its relationship with the American Indian community by (i) changing the name back to ‘The Redskins’ which recognizes America’s original inhabitants and (ii) using the team’s historic name and legacy to encourage Americans to learn about, not cancel, the history of America’s tribes and our role in the founding of this Great Nation.

It is unlikely, of course, that this will generate action from the team, at least in the near term. But when looking over the course of things so far this year, this type of pushback has at least a chance. In 2023, we have seen a number of ways that media efforts at shaping the culture have been notable failures, whether in pushing agendas or attempting to cancel unapproved entities. Why not go back and retroactively push back on another misguided woke agenda item?!

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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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