Last week the Washington Redskins made off-season news not for training camp or trades. Instead, the press came when the United States Patent and Trademark Office abruptly canceled the team's trademarks on the basis that they were "disparaging to Native Americans."
The legal ramifications of this action by one wing of the US Government may remain murky for a while. However, for years social activists of all stripes have called for the Redskins and other sports organizations to rid themselves of names that refer to ethnic groups, or people of color's color.
It's probably time anyhow that the Redskins come up with a new name. One that's more interesting and better yet doesn't offend anyone. So we've come up with a few suggestions that might work for Washington football going into the 2014-2015 season.
The Washington Scandals. When you get right down to it, there's no bigger tradition in Washington, DC, than the good old fashioned political scandal. Whether it's little stuff like mail fraud and misuse of public funds, or something much bigger like Iran Contra or the Lewinsky Scandal, Washington has a knack for creating news that just won't go away. Why not honor the capital city's greatest skill set by renaming the Redskins in a way that properly tells the America's story.
The Washington Red Tape. At least with this one, the Redskins organization can retain the Red in Redskins and insert the hint of throwback to the old name. Moreover, (according to some at least) big government and its imposing nature were ultimately at work in forcing a change to the team name. Not that double entendre is used much in the naming of sports teams, but by renaming the franchise the Red Tape, fans new and old will have their own backhanded reminder in-hand that Washington, not the club itself, had the last say in the naming of its own local football team.
The beautiful Fawn Hall, secretary to Oliver North, was a notable figure in the Iran-Contra affair. After gaining some fame, word has it Hall wanted to date Redskins star quarterback Jay Schroeder. Schroeder wasn't interested.
The Washington Lobbyists. Red tape aside, there is one sector of Washington, DC, that is extremely efficient and very industrious. That's the lobbyist community. You have to hand it to these men and women, really. After all, who is really the most productive force behind all the laws and loopholes that run our nation? It's not the lawmakers. Considering that lobbyists for industries such as biotech, big auto, tobacco, firearms and big energy work on behalf of (mostly) corporate America, it's fair to say that lobbyists --good or bad-- are responsible for much of the money in Washington. Not only do the lobbyists of Washington deserve to have the team name, they should probably get their own sky box too.
Andy Frye writes about sports and life for ESPN.com and RedEye Chicago. As a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan, he is totally unbiased in writing this article.