In 1995, Washington DC basketball owner Abe Pollin changed the name of the team he owned. Why? His team was called the Washington Bullets at a time when his city had a reputation as the murder capital of the world. The change happened after Pollin’s friend, Yitzak Rabin, was shot to death in Israel. “My friend was shot in the back by bullets,” he told The Washington Post. “The name Bullets for a sports team is no longer appropriate.” The name was changed to the Wizards (men of magical powers, not high-ranking members of the KKK).
If the Washington Redskins ever decide a racial slur against Native Americans is no longer appropriate, they will need a new name. That process can take a long time, so I’d like to offer The Washington Football Team a head start.
The Washington Dysfunction
Quick: what comes to mind when you think of Washington’s football team? Seven head coaches since 2000? The Robert Griffin III debacle? Dan Snyder’s management style?
What comes to mind when you think of Washington DC? The fact that it’s taxed even though it’s not actually a state? The antics of our elected officials in Congress? If you are like 99.9 percent of the population, when you think of Washington, you think of dysfunction. It’s perfect.
The Dysfunction also lends itself to catchy rallying cries. The Cincinnati Bengals have the “Who dey?” chant. The New Orleans Saints have “Who dat?” As the Washington Dysfunction, Washington’s team can adopt “Who dys?” It’s almost too perfect.
As a mascot, the team could hire Albert Haynesworth as its mascot for some absurdly Washingtonesque salary of $3 billion. All he’d need to do is lie down near the field of play for a few hours during the game.
The Washington Gentrification
Gentrification is very much a trend in large cities. Washington DC is no exception, with low-income families forced from their homes to make room for the third-wave hipsters (the ones that are only hipsters as an exercise in irony). If the team wants to stay with an “R” word, Gentrification lends itself to nicknames like the Redevelopment and the Renewal.
Officially, though, the team would the Gents for short. Instead of cheerleaders, the team could hire a gay men’s choir to stand on the sidelines and look dapper in tuxedos. The organisation could expand the theme by spelling everything to do with the team in British English and hiring announcers with British accents, who would refer to the sport solely as “American Football.” The team colours could be black and white.
PBR would be the only beer sold in the stadium. A step up from the expired Official Beer of the World Cup they usually sell at FedEx Field.
The Washington Tourists
Since Washington is a popular tourist destination, and nobody affiliated with Washington’s football team sticks around for very long, the Washington Tourists is a great alternative to the current name.
Part of the team’s marketing strategy could be to attract international fans visiting from other countries. For tourists, the novelty of seeing an American football game would be enticing, no doubt. They would arrive en masse on articulated buses and spend absurd amounts of money on fanny packs, snow globes, and other merchandise the team hasn’t even dreamed of selling.
And, since it really isn’t fair to expect loyalty from fans of a team with a racist name and inept management, the contingent of fans would change week to week, freeing up the Washington DC natives to defect to the Ravens, Steelers, or any other NFL team of their choosing.
The Washington R-Words: Here, the R-Word could stand for the current name, Rent Controllers, or Racists.
The Washington National Treasure: Book of Secrets: Perfect for those who like nonsensical decisions and obnoxious personalities, but find Dan Snyder slightly more tolerable than Nicolas Cage.
The Washington Whigs: Alliteration. Millard Fillmore could be the mascot.
The Washington Staffers: A clever pun since the mascot would be a menacing, staff-wielding Moses or Galdalf (which would tie in nicely with the Washington Wizards).
Dani Bostick is Crooked Scoreboard’s assistant editor. When she is not assisting or editing, she is sometimes tweeting, on Twitter.