Last week, right before their team fell into a sexual harassment fueled chaos, the Washington professional football team announced they would be changing their team name. Owner and noted C.H.U.D. Daniel Snyder said that a group within the organization had determined that was the best thing for the organization. This is, of course, radioactive bullshit. They are changing the name because the team wants a new stadium on the site of the old RFK Stadium in Washington, DC proper. That stadium is considered a historical site, and the city wouldn’t give it to him to build a new stadium unless he changed the team name. There’s always a reason assholes try to make themselves look “not so assholey.” This will not be the only time the government has had to step in to make this team do the right thing. More on that in a minute.
That’s neither here nor there, though. The name is being changed and that is what’s important. For those of you who are remarkably unaware of this fact, the Washington NFL team’s name is the Redskins. Yea, if the first thing you think when you read that is “holy hell that’s offensive,” you would be correct. It IS offensive.
While there is a ton of revisionist history from Dan Snyder, who it should be reminded is a radioactive merkin of a human being, about the origins of the team name, the truth is much more simple and less lore laden. In the early 1930’s, the football team was playing in Boston. At the time, they were called the Braves. At the same time, a Major League Baseball team was also playing in Boston named the Braves. Initially, the teams bore the same name because they played in the same staidum. The owner at the time was named George Preston Marshall. He was getting sick of confusion within the city in the newspapers and whatnot, but wanted to fix this the cheapest way possible. Therefore, Braves became Redskins. As long as it was Native American related, then he wouldn’t have to change the team logo or buy new uniforms.
The story Snyder, a prolapsed anus, chose to go with was that Marshall named the team as a term of endearance for his coach at the time, who was native american. Not only would this later be proved to not be true, it turns out that the coach wasn’t even Native American! William Henry Dietz coached the team when they were in Boston in 1933 and 1934. Dietz claimed he was Native American to get out of having to fight in World War 1. He stole the identity of a Native American man who had died 12 years prior. This is what people familiar with the history of this team as “par for the course.”
To truly understand that the nickname wasn’t a love letter to a coach or players, you need to get a little primer on George Preston Marshall. Heir to a laundromat throne, he saw huge value in professional football. He and George Halas helped to get the NFL to allow the forward pass from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage, when the previous rule had said that you had to stand five yards behind the line of scrimmage to throw a pass. He also saw the value in television from the beginning, and even built his own television network to air Washington games on across the southern part of the United States. He also was very much against the Dallas Cowboys becoming an NFL team and only acquiesced when someone bought the copyright of his team’s fight song and threatened to ban him from using it.
OH, and he really hated black people! He was the architect of a gentleman’s agreement in the NFL where the owners wouldn’t sign any African American players. He went on a very public temper tantrum when teams started breaking the agreement. He actually said “I’ll start to sign negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters sign white men.” Remember at the beginning when I mentioned the government intervening to change the name and that not being the first time with this leaking septic tank of a franchise? That’s because in 1962, United States Attorney General Robert Kennedy told Marshall that they would kick his team out of DC Stadium, which had been paid for the the local government, if he didn’t sign a black player.
DC Stadium of course would become known as RFK Memorial Stadium in honor of Robert Kennedy after he was assassinated. The same stadium in which current owner Daniel Snyder, an over ripe sweet potato that fell into radioactive waste and became a dickhead, is trying to take possession of so he can build a new stadium.
Really charming stuff. Actually, Marshall was probably just ahead of his time. He openly hated minorities, sued journalists who wrote critical things about him, and said of the jewish community “Oh I love the jews. Especially when they are customers of mine.” This type of behavior has been considered racist for a long time. But in 2020, it makes you the President, so maybe if he’d been frozen Walt Disney style, he could thaw out and have a long run in politics.
At this point, it’s well established that it was time for a name change of the team decades ago. That it is happening now feels like a “better late than never situation.” End of story, right? Good!
Oh, i’m sorry, this article isn’t called “Some Of You Are Satisfied With Open and Shut Cases.” It is called “Some Of You Are Goddamn Idiots” and I’m writing this because people still got their undergarments in a bunch over this. Over a clearly racist name being changed. To something different. To something that isn’t racist. Somehow, this became a free speech issue. But much more importantly, it reminded everyone that hardcore sports fans are usually some of the dumbest, most backwards thinking people ever.
A quick tangent on fandom: this happens with everything. Your favorite actor/actress. Favorite band. Favorite post-expressionist painter. Favorite Guy Fieri television show. People become attached because they are looking for something to attach themselves to. To throw themselves into. To identify with. Sports takes that to another level because the teams have names. They have jerseys. You can go to the store and buy that jersey to further identify yourself with that team. You become friends with people over the shared interest of a sports team. It’s something that is passed down generationally.
At it’s best, sports is community. At worst, sports is tribalism run amok.
Sports fans get defensive easily. When they are talking about a team, some will say “we won the game” as opposed to the correct term “they won the game” because there is no we. The people that say this didn’t play in the game. But because the team did it, and they so desperately want to be a part of the team, it becomes “we.” That is…whatever…but it’s neither here nor there. But it is that type of hive mind mentality that can skew people’s ability to look at something with reason and understanding. Anyway, back to the story.
So after it was announced last week that Washington would be changing their team name, there were the normal amount of people bending themselves into pretzels to say that it was wrong. It’s a part of history, they screamed. It’s there to honor the people, they bellowed. You can’t erase what we love, they cried. It all sounds very Confederate Monumentish. And honestly, if you made a Venn Diagram of people crying about confederate statues and people crying about the team name change, it would probably have a heavy amount of eclipse between the two circles.
If you know me, then you should know where I fall on the monument debate. It’s probably worth it’s own article, and i’m sure i’ll get around to it at some point, but for the sake of not getting completely sideways on the topic, I’ll leave it at this: If I have to explain to you the issue with statues and the issue with the team name, then I probably also need to explain to you why you shouldn’t shove your genitals into an electrical socket.
Let’s look more at this from the “free speech” part of it, because that is what set me off. This charming meme has been floating around the internet for a few days and is remarkably, just absolutely mind blowingly stupid.
Now, obviously this is the work of a third rate hack who believes they are funny. It gets re-shared by other people without a creative bone in their body, and all of a sudden, this becomes an actual thing that you have to furrow your brow at. Maybe this even came from a parody website or Instagram account. Never meant to be taken seriously. The problem is, and goddammit this is becoming a real issue: IDIOTS DON’T UNDERSTAND PARODY.
This is no longer a matter of an obviously racist name needing to be changed. It has evolved into the liberal battle to take over everything and ruin things for good Americans who have lived a certain way for a long time and that there is no need for someone to go and turn their lives upside do….you know what, i’m not even finishing that sentence, because this is about a sports team.
I’d like to break this down team by team to talk about how stupid each comment is, but this really isn’t about that. It’s about this phenomenon going on right now online with people posting stuff then back tracking with the statement “Oh I know it’s not real, but ((enter justification for posting it here)).” And that is the problem. Nobody needs to be responsible for the things they post anymore. A thing doesn’t have to be true because their point is made through the lies. This is happening at a steadily increasing rate. I saw someone on Facebook post relentlessly about how Wayfair was an evil corporation that needed to be taken down because they sold children. When it (very obviously) turned out not to be true, she justified her actions by saying that child rape and pedophilia is bad. NO SHIT. NO. FUCKING. SHIT. Thats kind of a well known fact. That being true doesn’t justify all of the horrifying things you did in the lead up to it.
And this isn’t a one side or the other thing. This isn’t a liberal/conservative thing. This is a “BE GODDAMN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WORDS YOU SAY” thing.
Yea, you posted this insanely dumb thing about changing team names? That’s because you have a problem with the team names being changed in the first place. You don’t get to hide behind this quarter assed joke meme. If you posted this, that means you, a sports fan who still has to exist in society on a day to day basis, thinks that the term “Redskin” is completely fine for public consumption. It means that instead of getting to the root cause of why the team is named the way they are, and the people that named them that in the first place, you just go full rube and feel like your rights are getting trampled on because Washington’s football team has to go through the process of finding a name that doesn’t offend people that lived in this country long before you did, you chicken fried turd.
Complaining about team names is insanely stupid, as well. Why?
1: A team name change is going to make Dan Snyder insane, spectacular amounts of money. While you guys bitch and moan and cry about the changing of a team name, it just means that he gets to create a new logo, which means new hats, t shirts, jerseys, mouse pads, branded truck nuts, and god knows what else he can slap the logo onto. This will make a fortune. And that’s if they go with a generic name. If they actually nail this name change, then the financial sky is the limit for how much value will be reaped from this.
He might make you think that this was a tough decision, but when he sees how much money is coming in, Snyder is probably going to be fine wiht it. Then, he will return to his underground temple of doom where he will drink the blood of endangered animals.
2: Teams change names. It has happened. In fact, it used to happen quite a bit? Why did it stop? Because of what I said earlier about fans of teams identifying with the teams. You see: fans identify with team = fans buying merchandise with team logo =profit. In the 1920’s, there wasn’t as much going on merchandising wise. It didn’t actually matter that much if team names changed.
In fact, it might be to explain something very important: sports teams are businesses. In fact, Washington’s business name is something like Washington Football LLC. This is how all sports teams are. The team names are just that, nicknames. They are given for a number of reasons. They can be named after a company that sponsored the team (Green Bay Packers), through a naming contest to spice things up (Pittsburgh Steelers), or because it was the early 90’s and everyone was on a cat naming kick (Carolina Panthers).
While it isn’t as prevalent in football because so many teams have only existed over the past 40-50 years, the Chicago Cubs have been known by four different names over their existence, same as the Pittsburgh Steelers. From 1890 to 1953, Cincinnati’s baseball team was known as the Reds. Then for four years, they decided to be the Redlegs. Then after that, they up and changed their name back to the Reds. The Raiders’ team name was originally the Senors, but it got made fun of so much, it was changed. When Washington’s team was changing their name from the Bullets in the late 90’s, Wizards was somehow not even the stupidest finalist.
It happens. It just happens less often now because of fan tribalism. They need to identify with that team. They need to identify with that name. It becomes a part of them and by using that identity, sports organizations and leagues can take advantage of that to put the logos on just the absolute tackiest shit ever because they know fans of that team will still buy it. Don’t believe me? Well, here are some Washington items you can purchase right now.
Every team has this shit. It’s just kind of a thing. You probably own something incredibly dumb like these items. Odds are, you received it as a gift. Don’t stress it. I have Chicago cubs steak knives. They cut perfectly fine, even though their owners are just as terrible human beings as Snyder.
The fact is, things like this bother a lot of people, even though they shouldn’t. Dan Snyder doesn’t care about your feelings. He cares about money and shooting hobos into space. A team name exists as an identifier used to shamelessly sell fans things. Your need and desire to care about it and claim that it is all part of some liberal agenda doesn’t say anything about anyone but you. It says that you are missing something in your life and you are filling it with fandom. Go read a book. Go on a walk. Learn to knit. Do something else. There has been no sports for months. If you have learned to bake during that time, then keep doing that.
All you are doing by attacking people over a team name change is saying that you are beholden to a billionaire who will shake you down for 45 dollars to buy a commemorative wine koozie for your cousin because you honestly don’t know what to get her for her birthday and she has been super weird ever since she went vegan, but you know she likes to drink wine from the bottle when she is having one of her classic “Jill moments.”
And if you can’t afford that koozie, then Dan Snyder will shoot you into space. You hobo.