Washington Redskins Team to Change Team Name

The Washington Redskins American football team from the National Football League (NFL) made headlines when they announced their intention to change the name of the team.

For years, protesters have demanded the team stop using the name which they find offensive to Native Americans. Dan Snyder, the owner of the team, said seven years ago that the team would “NEVER” change the name. “You can use caps,” he said.

For those seven years, it seemed that the team was intending to honor that statement and keep the troubling name.

But times have recently changed. The intense pressure generated by the Black Lives Matter campaign has spilled over and led to many businesses examining all of their trademarks and changing any that may offend members of certain groups.

PepsiCo announced that it was making changes to their Aunt Jemima maple syrup brand. Aunt Jemima is based on an old minstrel character which in turn was based on racial stereotypes.

Uncle Ben’s rice, Mrs. Butterworth syrup and Cream of Wheat also announced that they were changing their brand identities as all three were based on racial stereotypes.

Dreyer’s ice cream is changing the name of their Eskimo Pie brand because the term Eskimo is considered derogatory by natives in the Arctic.

Dixie Beer, the oldest brewery in New Orleans, has announced that they are changing their name to shed the slavery connections their current name carries.

So pressure has been building on the Washington football team to do something about their name. In addition, sponsors such as FedEx and Nike have threatened to take their money elsewhere if the team doesn’t change the name.

Head Coach Ron Rivera has said that he would like to see the team adopt a name that honors the nation’s military. His father was an officer in the US Army and Rivera grew up on military bases.

The team management is rumored to have a name in mind but they are waiting for the lawyers to deal with any copyright issues before they make an announcement. Given the amount of scrutiny the new name is likely to face, this seems like a prudent move. It’s especially smart after the public relations fiasco country music group Lady A created when they changed their name to one used by an established blues singer.

Given all the above, here are few military-related names that the Washington team should consider using:

Gatling gun during testing.
Gatling gun during testing.

1) Washington Warthogs: The A-10 Warthog is one of the most famous warplanes in US history. It continues to be used in spite of the Pentagon’s efforts to ground it. A bonus effect of this name is that it allows the fans to continue the Hogettes – a group of male fans who dressed up in women’s clothing and wore pig’s noses to root for their team.

Chesty XIV, the official Marine Corps mascot
Chesty XIV, the official Marine Corps mascot

2) Washington Devil Dogs: Devil Dog is a nicknamed used by the US Marines. The team could do worse than associate themselves with some of the toughest people in the world.

3) Washington Generals: The Generals name was used by a team in the defunct USFL which means that Washington might have to pay the owner of that old team: President Donald J. Trump.


Lucas Films
Lucas Films

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4) Washington Red Tails: The Red Tails were one of the most successful fighter groups in World War II. Made up entirely of the all-black Tuskegee Airmen, the team got its nickname from the distinctive paint job on their fighter planes.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE