Column: What's in a name? A lot for Redskins

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 09, 2013
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By TIM DAHLBERG AP Sports Columnist The mood in Washington isn't one of compromise, despite the best efforts of President Barack Obama to give the issue a gentle nudge. When it comes to changing the name of the city's football team it seems there is no middle ground. Redskins it has been for some 80 years now. Redskins it will almost surely be for years to come, unless Washington owner Dan Snyder has a sudden change of heart. Offensive to some, it's equally hallowed by others. The president suggested in a recent interview with The Associated Press that a name change might be good for the team, but Snyder has dug in his billionaire boots and shows no sign of succumbing to political correctness. ''We'll never change the name,'' Snyder told USA Today in May. ''It's that simple. NEVER --- you can use caps.'' But what if the name Redskins became such a hot button issue that Snyder had no choice? What if he was forced to go in search of a new name, much as basketball's Washington Bullets did when they became the Wizards? No worries. Here are some names that any Washington fan will soon find themselves rooting for: FATCATS: It never hurts to have an animal in the name, and the mascot possibilities are endless. Snyder might not give the OK on this one, though, since he, like all NFL owners, is a fat cat himself, with a net worth estimated by Forbes Magazine at $1.2 billion. SHUTDOWNS: It's trendy now, but will it have staying power? HOGETTES: They're officially retired, hanging up their dresses and putting away the pig snouts at the end of the last season. But has any team ever had a classier or more fervent group of supporters than the Hogettes? For 30 years they put on their game faces every Sunday, complete with pig snouts, and slipped into dresses to root for their beloved team. The name is no longer taken and will offend only those who don't believe bacon should be one of the main food groups. SPENDTHRIFTS: Actually, this might be fitting for Snyder, who hasn't hesitated to open his deep wallet when it comes to players no one else wants. Unfortunately for Snyder, he's such a bad judge of talent that few of those players ever contributed much of anything to his football team. Imagine, though, a marketing campaign featuring the owner throwing money at Albert Haynesworth, who signed his seven-year, $100 million contract in 2009 only to last be seen heading out of Washington with a huge smile on his face. UNTOUCHABLES: Washington is full of these, which is a big reason why the country is often as sluggish as the Washington offense. Still, it has a nice ring, and a mysterious aura of sorts. STATESMEN: It doesn't get much classier than a team filled with idealists who refuse to compromise when it comes to the rules. They don't lead with their helmets, and wouldn't dream of paying out bounties to hurt other players. Don't worry about drug testing, because no Statesman would dare besmirch the game by taking human growth hormone or steroids. A team like this has no chance of going to Super Bowl, of course, but what was the last time Washington was there anyway? MONUMENTS: Washington already has a monument, so why not the Monuments? DONOTHINGS: Hard to find a nickname more synonymous with a town, though a bit unwieldy to use when describing a team. Invariably, they would be referred to just as the Nothings, as in the traditional team fight song ''Hail to the Nothings.'' RGIII'S: The franchise is his anyway, assuming Robert Griffin III can stay healthy. He'll probably own the team someday, so why not spare him from making the name change himself? There are plenty of others, of course, assuming Snyder is interested. Gridlocks, Filibusters and Pages all work, though the Nationals and Capitols are taken and no one wants to be a Senator. It's all in the name, something Snyder should know something about. He's been called enough of them since buying the team and alienating fans with terrible coaching hires and personnel moves. The fans keep coming, but after Griffin led them to the playoffs last year some of them are paying up to 57 percent more for seats at always sold out FedEx Field. They get the Redskins, but they don't get good football. On Snyder's watch the team is 102-126 overall, and has won just two playoff games. Come to think of it, you might just call them losers. ---- Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
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