Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dollars & Sense - Will Washington Ever Change Their Nickname?

The football team in Washington has a racist nickname.  Really there's no way around it.  Well, of course, it's only racist if you think about it.  And when you think about it, you probably have an image of the skinned skull of a Native American or of the outwardly racist former owner, George Preston Marshall, or some combination of both.  Yes, this is the same Marshall that was the last owner to integrate his football team in 1962 and only did so because the league stepped in.

Some contend that the nickname is to honor the Native Americans and their fighting attitude.  This seems to be a bit disillusioned and a Hail Mary pass to save the name in the face of public outrage.

Hail to the Pigskins!In Dan Snyder's defense, it's tough to toy with a brand that was recently valued at $1.7 billion by Forbes.  But, you know, sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. 

Either way, tough decision or not, the name is racist.  The name needs to change. Let's be honest with ourselves; enough is enough.

Enough is exactly what many mainstream media outlets are saying to Washington's nickname.  Slate is the latest media outlet to join in a a boycott on using the nickname.  The New Republic and Mother Jones also followed suit.  The team will now be known as "the football team from Washington."  Heck, the nickname is even on the list of words band from the National Scrabble Championship that used to air on ESPN. 

So how much is a team's nickname -- their brand, if you will -- really worth?  ESPN's Peter Keating recently wrote about this, and below is a quote from his article:

It might seem that the Redskins, who have represented our nation's capital for nearly 80 years, have a uniquely powerful brand. But pro football teams get most of their value from the sport they play (62 percent, Forbes says) and the market they're in (17.4 percent). Just 6.5 percent, on average, comes from their brand equity -- the value teams get from fans being able to identify with individual franchises. Put an NFL team in DC and it would be worth more than $1 billion even if you called it the Washington Smallpox.
This is pretty major research considering how much emphasis we put on the importance of a team name (Exhibit A: New Orleans Pelicans). But, nonetheless, it shows that there are much much bigger factors into a team's value.

Many people shy away from talking about changing the name because, well, that means they need to come up with a new one.  Everybody is trying to avoid a Pelicans-esque catastrophe.  Personally, I think that Pigskins is a viable candidate.  It's a perfect candidate at least until Liberals start trying to protect pigs (Hint: If you are trying to argue for or against something, never bring up Liberal or Conservative agendas.  It makes you look like a conspiracy theorist and lose all credibility.)

So as owner Dan Snyder continues to live in his money-filled bigoted world -- "you can use caps" -- it may be coming time to change the name.  The financial hit won't be as big as Snyder or his supporters "estimate" in the press.  Changing the name is a long-term move for society and for the team.  As the number of media and people refusing to use the nickname grows, the number will sure exceed the number of those refusing to continue supporting the team if the name changes.

The time is now to change the nickname of the football team in Washington.

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

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