The Washington Redskins have been a cornerstone franchise of the National Football League since the middle of the 20th century. Until the so called “PC era” arrived, not many people seemed to give a thought to how racist the name REDSKINS is in its very essence. A team name like “Blackskins” or “Yellowskins” would never have been tolerated (I hope) nor should it have been. Yet the Redskins have gotten a pass all this time….until NOW, apparently.
The Redskins are currently angling for a new stadium and need the financial and other cooperation of the city of Washington DC on the deal. The mayor of the city, the honorable Vincent Gray is now on the record saying that a name change may have to be a condition of the deal. No name change, no new stadium. The gauntlet has not been thrown down yet, but high praise to the mayor for having the guts to raise the issue, especially in his own backyard where the football team is wildly popular and actually revered.
From a marketing standpoint, the name Redskins has not hurt the franchise, judging by ticket sales, ratings and other streams of revenue. But the name IS offensive to many and should be changed. The Washington franchise of the NFL will NOT go out of business if it changes its name. In fact, a new logo, a new name and a fresh marketing/communications approach would do them a lot of good. Certainly, the positive PR advantages would be significant. Reasonable voices should call on the team’s owner, Dan Snyder to do himself a favor. Change the name, make the stadium deal AND do the right thing! History will judge him and the franchise kindly.