(Writer's note: Per the arrangement with the syndicators, this column appears here a week after its newspaper release)
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REDSKINS AND OTHERS OUT OF THEIR LEAGUE
BY BOB FRANKEN
It's always good when there's a news lull like we have right now, so we can dwell on matters that keep our attention far longer and raise more emotion than the likes of wars, natural disasters or imminent government shutdowns.
Automatically, our thoughts can go to that other mess, the National Football League. No, this is not the usual incredulous musing about a strike by millionaire employees against billionaire owners. Frankly, it's kind of fun to watch the two sides thrash around. It provides us the opportunity to ponder the nature of the sport, particularly its fundamental sensitivity.
Where else would you find a team with a name that is out-and-out racist, like “Washington Redskins”? In the NFL, of course. Not only that, but as the franchise of our nation's capital it is particularly remarkable. This, after all, is where a showboating politician was once asked, “Have you no decency?”
(Pardon the “showboating politician” redundancy, and also the “decency” question with such an obvious answer.)
The name “Redskins” is a disgrace and needs to be replaced. This would be a good time to take the plunge, since the league isn't doing anything else at the moment.
There are so many D.C.-appropriate names. The question is which one to choose. What best captures the essence of this unique market? So many possibilities, such a small word count.
Now, now. Who's the cynic who said “Bozos”? Bad idea. Think of the copyright problems.
There certainly are other possibilities almost as obvious: The Washington Presidents, the Congressionals or, to borrow from sports history, the Senators, who had about as much success in baseball as the professional football franchise has had since owner Dan Snyder took the helm.
What yawners. We need to capture that power-grabbing greed and deception that defines D.C.'s way of life. The Politicians comes to mind. That would work if the team decides to emphasize deceptive plays.
Or how about the Lobbyists, to pay homage to those who buy most of the loges at our stadium. Maybe the Fat Cats, as a tribute to the ones who really run things, or the Spinners, who are their apologists.
The Campaigners and the Fundraisers have some potential, since they would represent D.C.'s full-time preoccupation. Similarly, the Money-grubbers would work, particularly since it also sautes Snyder and the other teams' owners. They are always looking for ways to feed their obese profits. Substitute the word “ambitions” for “profits,” and you can see why pro football is such a good fit in this market. After all, isn't there a cliche that “politics is a contact sport”? We even have an exclusive organization in D.C. where media and newsmakers collude, called the Gridiron Club. Coincidence?
In fairness, Snyder in particular always has been willing to spend some of his loot on various free agents. His success rate suggests another possible moniker: The Washington Busts. The team mascot, of course, would be Filibuster. Or if we want to emphasize the parade of coaches, it could be the Revolving Doors.
Whatever, with so little going on in the world, now is the time we can focus our entire attention on changing the name of the Washington “R-Words” to something that is not so blatantly prejudiced and more in tune with the area. So goodbye tepee, hello tea party.
Speaking of the tea party, it looks like the Republicans and Democrats have been taking some negotiating lessons from the NFL. Considering they both are involved in silly little games, the bargaining might end up the same way. In this case, it would be the federal government that would shut down. There is one huge difference: We spectators are rooting against all sides.