The NFL football team formerly known as the Washington Redskins, after two seasons of namelessness, says it will finally unveil its new name on Feb. 2.
But if they did choose the Groundhogs, it would make some sense, to the extent that the team’s offensive linemen for 40 years have been affectionately referred to as “the Hogs.”
“It all started at the Redskins’ 1982 training camp. [Then-offensive line coach] Joe Bugel was working with his line, a chunky bunch, and wanted them to hit the blocking sleds, he said. ‘OK, you Hogs, let’s get running down there,’” according to The-Hogs.net, a fan blog.
“That’s really all there was to it. The guys embraced the nickname and the [moniker] stuck,” the blog says.
“T-shirts were made up with razorback hogs on them, and The Hogs were required to wear the shirts one day each week — or pay a $5 fine to Joe Bugel’s Hog Feast fund.”
But we digress.
Though the name change will be a done deal next week, we continue to think it was a solution in search of a problem.
The Redskins name was not, and never was, a racist slur against Native Americans, regardless of what politically correct activists — most of them smug, self-righteous white, liberal elites (many of them editorial writers and columnists for The Washington Post) — told us again and again.
In fact, a poll conducted for the Post and published less than six years ago, in May 2016 — the results of which no doubt disappointed its sponsor — found that “9 in 10 Native Americans aren’t offended by Redskins name.”
The article noted that the poll results were unchanged from those of a 2004 survey, despite an unceasing hectoring campaign by liberal umbrage-takers.
“The Washington Redskins team, our fans and community have always believed our name represents honor, respect and pride,” team owner Dan Snyder said in a statement when the 2016 poll results were published. “Today’s Washington Post polling shows Native Americans agree. We are gratified by this overwhelming support from the Native American community, and the team will proudly carry the Redskins name.”
Still, the anti-“Redskins” agitators persisted with their badgering until Mr. Snyder — who in May 2013 said he’d “never change the name … NEVER. You can use caps” — finally caved in July 2020.
The team — which changed its name once before, from the Braves to the Redskins in 1933, and relocated from Boston to Washington four years later — has played the past two seasons as the generic “Washington Football Team.”
Mr. Snyder should have stood his “never” ground and told the woke name-change crowd — most of whom probably don’t even like football to begin with — to go pound sand and the team’s blocking sleds.
He should have stuck with “Redskins,” because it was “offensive” and “racist” and disparaged Native Americans only in the minds of a minuscule but vocal minority, as the 2016 poll confirmed.
After all, think of it this way: Why would a sports team pick as its name a moniker that would disparage itself? They didn’t, because it doesn’t. To the contrary, the Redskins name and logo were chosen because they conveyed a sense of bravery and strength, or as Mr. Snyder characterized it, “honor, respect, and pride.”
According to The-Hogs.net blog, an early favorite to become the team’s new name, the Washington Red Wolves, is out the running because of copyright issues. The Admirals is now supposedly the front-runner, it claims, with other leading contenders being the Armada, the Commanders, the Defenders, the Presidents, the Red Hogs, the Red Tails and the Sentinels.
With the exception of the Presidents, we’re not particularly impressed with any of those. (Why isn’t the Senators on the list?)
But if you’re going to change the name, one could argue that “Washington” was the truly objectionable part of it, associated as Washington is with partisanship, rank hypocrisy, corruption and out-of-control spending.
As such, the list of new monikers worth considering should include the Washington Waste Fraud and Abuse, the Swamp Rats, the Partisans, the Pork Barrels, the Bureaucrats, the National Debtors or the Trillions.
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