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Friday, October 11, 2013

No need to change ‘Braves’ name, Atlanta mayor says

Some of my “number of friends” happen to be…

This week, Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, defended his team’s name, and insisted he would not change it, despite strong objections from those who feel it’s racially insensitive.

Some critics believe the Atlanta Braves may want to consider a name change too.

But don’t count Mayor Kasim Reed among them. After all, the “Atlanta Braves” is more than a name. It’s also a brand. With a lot of equity.

...But either way, Mayor Reed says he’s not in support of a name change for the Braves.

“I do not,” said the mayor. “I think that the name the Atlanta Braves is a name that we should keep; and I have a number of friends who are Indians, and they haven’t shared any offense with me about it. So I go by my experiences.”

It is rare for the mayor to break ranks with the president. But on the issue of using a race of people as a mascot, they do not agree.

The president thinks team owners should indeed consider changing names that are potentially offensive.

Repoz Posted: October 11, 2013 at 11:26 AM | 264 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves

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   101. Morty Causa Posted: October 13, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4571108)
C'mon there are such things as brands and goodwill, and they have value. If Walmart changed its name to WallyWorld, or anything, you don't think that would have an effect? This applies especially when you are talking about undifferentiated products. Not only is Apple not going to change its name to Prune, it's not going to change it to whatever either.
   102. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 13, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4571109)
Oh, and Avenue of the Americas is such a better name than Sixth Avenue. It's no contest.


No New Yorkers, other than the handful who still eat a Snickers bar with a knife and fork, agree with you.
   103. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 13, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4571110)
Yawn.
   104. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 13, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4571125)
Actually, it is. They are all businesses.

The difference being that 2 of them are global multinational brands which are primarily identified by their trademark products. The other is a mostly local company, which is largely recognized for it's individual employees, and being associated with he NFL and the city of Washington DC. And on top of that has a customer base that is strongly invested in their product, and is highly unlikely to to switch to another brand, or abandon the product entirely.

Other than that, they are totally the same thing though.
   105. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 13, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4571132)
Other than that, they are totally the same thing though.

Right, because it's your millions that are on the line.

In any event, I can't wait for the Yankees to change their name because, you know, it just doesn't matter.
   106. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 13, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4571143)
What has the actual impact of this stuff been? Have the colleges that changed their nicknames (above even greater caterwauling) taken the hits in support that opponent of name changes forecast? Or, once the change is made and people realize that it's still the same group of pituitary freaks out there representing old Alma Mater U, do people realize that it was a bunch of fury over nothing?

All that's hard to gauge, meaning that it's hard to compare college and pro nicknames. The truth is that for all the controversy over Indian names, Stanford and Syracuse** are the only existing I-A schools that changed their names due to protests. The other colleges (Dartmouth, Bradley, St. John's, etc.) that have done so have been smaller programs that never were that invested in sports to begin with, at least not for many decades, and certainly not for football.

You also have a few schools like Marquette that dropped "Warriors", but rather ironically, that's what many proponents of the Redskins name change favor as a replacement for the current name. And then you've got other colleges like Oklahoma that dropped Indian mascots, but the Redskins did away with the headdresses on the marching band quite a few years ago.

Another factor is that there's an enormous amount of pressure brought down upon holdouts from the NCAA, in the form of refusal to let them play in NCAA-sanctioned bowl games. That sort of pressure, which is about the only thing that would make Snyder relent, is unlikely to come from the NFL in the foreseeable future.

Of course you may be right that the fans with the biggest emotional ties to the Redskins name would eventually die off, and be replaced by a generation for whom the name is simply regarded as being (in the famous phrase) "before my time". But in the meantime, I think it'd take a couple of unlikely Super Bowl trophies to make up for the loss in emotional connection among the existing fanbase.

**Which dropped the "men" from "Orangemen" in 2004 and is now just the "Orange".
   107. BDC Posted: October 13, 2013 at 02:33 PM (#4571158)
I seem to have touched a weird nerve. OK, let's accept that the Washington Redskins are worth a billion dollars and that brand identity is the be-all and end-all of modern life, though I'm obviously with SoSH U here that, oh please. Even at that, corporations change their names all the time: sometimes just ahead of some sort of lawsuit, but at other times for inscrutable reasons: KFC anybody? And what's more, Fancy Pants makes a great point. If there's an NFL team in Washington, it's presumably going to gain support from football fans in Washington. Would fans not tune in to see how RGIII does tonight if his team were renamed the Senators this afternoon?

The greater obstacle to renaming is that myriad fans across the globe who buy NFL-licensed stuff would be less likely to buy so much, though even at that it seems to me a mixed bag. On the one hand, novelty sells: people who own a Redskins jersey and wouldn't ordinarily buy a new one might very well buy a new Senators jersey. It's hardly like the change would go uncovered by the media! And the same hand, there's goodwill to be gained from the change. Some soreheads in some DC suburb might rant and rave, but as noted, they're something of a captive audience; maybe you'd gain new fans worldwide with a new image. And on yet the same hand, here's how to sell a new brand: play in a Super Bowl (which you presumably are trying to do anyway). People will know about you, and want to buy your crap, after that.
   108. Morty Causa Posted: October 13, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4571173)
When the big push came in the '70s for my undergraduate alma mater to change its signature name from Bulldogs to Ragin' Cajuns, there was significant opposition from area Blacks. Their slogan in opposition was, "It's Not All of Us." There were even license plates bearing the slogan.
   109. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 13, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4571178)
If there's an NFL team in Washington, it's presumably going to gain support from football fans in Washington. Would fans not tune in to see how RGIII does tonight if his team were renamed the Senators this afternoon?

Again, it's easy for those whose dollars aren't at stake to suggest that the name change of a business would have little to no impact on the bottom line.

And hello? Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name in order to make its brand more marketable around the globe, not less.

   110. Swedish Chef Posted: October 13, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4571182)
Again, it's easy for those whose dollars aren't at stake to suggest that the name change of a business would have little to no impact on the bottom line.

Who knows what it's going to cost them in sponsorship income in the future to have an overtly racist name? Corporations are very cautious, too much controversy and they head for the exits.
   111. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 13, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4571191)
Who knows what it's going to cost them in sponsorship income in the future to have an overtly racist name? Corporations are very cautious, too much controversy and they head for the exits.

If and when Native American tribes unite and make the Redskins name change question a top priority, your question will be ripe.

Until then, Snyder won't "head for the exits" while the movement is spearheaded by Mike Wise and a handful of other bleeding hearts.
   112. greenback wears sandals on his head Posted: October 13, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4571204)
If tomorrow, Apple changed its name to Pear or Toyota to Atoyot, do you think the switch would be as inconsequential as you suggest above?

I don't remember anyone putting up a stink when Datsun re-branded everything as Nissan. Nor do I remember great financial losses after the Bullets-Wizards name change. Did anybody lose their shirts when IBM's stuff was re-branded as Lenovo?

Branding is a weird concept for a sports franchise. The petty bureaucrat in the front office thinks his marketing genius is the key to the financial success of the organization, and really it's worth less than Jose Molina's subtle framing of a single pitch.
   113. BDC Posted: October 13, 2013 at 04:39 PM (#4571212)
Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name in order to make its brand more marketable around the globe, not less

As the Chef implies, a globeful of mostly nonwhite people might find a brand name other than Redskins a bit more appealing :)
   114. John Shade has yet to hear the Squeak Posted: October 13, 2013 at 04:45 PM (#4571214)
If tomorrow, Apple changed its name to Pear or Toyota to Atoyot, do you think the switch would be as inconsequential as you suggest above?
This is such a bullshit comparison. Brand identification and loyalty are big things when you're selling a product in a competitive market. There are lots of other cars/phones someone can buy, there's only one professional football team in Washington. Are former Redskins fans going to suddenly be confused and go to 49ers' games?
   115. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 13, 2013 at 05:47 PM (#4571236)
I love how Andy calls people racist and Buchananite for merely pointing out that affirmative action discriminates against white people, yet bends over backwards to justify a bread and circuses enterprise using an unalloyed racial slur, because business.

"We've used a racial slur in our brand name for eight decades, but we shouldn't have to change it because our customers may buy less of our trinketry." Yeah, that makes sense.

   116. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 13, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4571242)
I love how Andy calls people racist and Buchananite for merely pointing out that affirmative action discriminates against white people....

I love how you put words into my mouth, though such bullshit is pretty much standard practice for you around here. That accusation is also pretty ironic coming from you, since we both favor the same type of class-based AA, a position I've repeated countless number of times to your studied inattention.

yet bends over backwards to justify a bread and circuses enterprise using an unalloyed racial slur, because business.

I suppose I should double down on the irony by pointing out your own racial "obsession" in this case, but the truth is that I don't give a damn one way or the other what Snyder does with the team name any more than I give a damn about whether they beat or lose to Dallas tonight.
   117. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 13, 2013 at 06:47 PM (#4571247)
I suppose I should double down on the irony by pointing out your own racial "obsession" in this case, but the truth is that I don't give a damn one way or the other what Snyder does with the team name any more than I give a damn about whether they beat or lose to Dallas tonight.

I'm just, once again, not finding anything resembling a principle. If there was a restaurant in 1964 Alabama that was worth the 1964 equivalent of $1.6B, and it only served white people and its customers saw that as a favorable part of its "brand," you wouldn't dream of wondering if the damage to the "brand" somehow limited the restaurant owner's obligation to integrate.

And southern college football teams likely stayed white-only because they thought it was an integral part of their "brand" and that didn't matter either.

Seems like you (*) are just making it up as you go along again.

(*) Not you alone, of course.
   118. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 13, 2013 at 06:47 PM (#4571249)
If and when Native American tribes unite and make the Redskins name change question a top priority, your question will be ripe.


They should unite and buy an NFL franchise and rename it anything they want.
   119. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 13, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4571258)
I don't remember anyone putting up a stink when Datsun re-branded everything as Nissan. Nor do I remember great financial losses after the Bullets-Wizards name change. Did anybody lose their shirts when IBM's stuff was re-branded as Lenovo?

One more time, companies rebrand when there's an opportunity to enhance their image, as was the case with Datsun/Nissan. The automaker was pursuing a global strategy and the Nissan name was already being used everywhere save North America.

Even when the Bullets were good, they were barely noticed, let alone worshipped in this market, so Abe Pollin wasn't off his rocker by changing the name.

By the terms of the Lenovo-IBM personal computer agreement, the Chinese firm wasn't allowed to keep the IBM name for more than five years.
   120. SoSH U at work Posted: October 13, 2013 at 07:14 PM (#4571266)

All that's hard to gauge, meaning that it's hard to compare college and pro nicknames. The truth is that for all the controversy over Indian names, Stanford and Syracuse** are the only existing I-A schools that changed their names due to protests. The other colleges (Dartmouth, Bradley, St. John's, etc.) that have done so have been smaller programs that never were that invested in sports to begin with, at least not for many decades, and certainly not for football.


Well, Miami (the original) and Eastern Michigan both changed, so those two aren't the only existing 1-A schools to drop their old monikers.

But even so, what has been the impact at Stanford and Syracuse? I'm sure there was a lot of handwringing and threat-issuing when those schools changed nicknames, but has it really had much of an affect on these teams schools/sports programs?

It seems to me that, within a very short period of time, whatever outrage that exists at these name changes peters out by virtue of it being something ridiculous to get outraged over. But that's just my impression from the outside. What has the cost been of these rebrandings? And what reason is there to think that any kind of pro sports change would differ materially? Just saying it's hard to compare them isn't really that convincing.

Moreover, we have the Bullets/Wiz, which JE says no one cares about so the change is easy. Couldn't you just as easily look at that from the other direction. That fans in the D.C. area are so hooked on their Skins that Snyder could rename them #### You, Beltway Jackoffs and they'd still be the district's team of choice.

   121. BDC Posted: October 13, 2013 at 07:27 PM (#4571272)
I-A schools that changed their names due to protests

My university, Texas-Arlington, changed its team names from Rebels to Mavericks, c1970-71: the impetus being integration and the civil rights movement. (Of course, there are other Rebels who never have, notably Ole Miss.) They were never a D-I football school, of course, and dropped football altogether in 1987, but we do have several D-I teams in other sports (notably baseball).

My father worked for 30 years at a college that changed its name: Glassboro State to Rowan. People got over that pretty fast. (They didn't change the team names, the "Profs.")
   122. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 13, 2013 at 07:33 PM (#4571274)
The University of North Dakota, multiple national championships in hockey, changed its name.
   123. SoSH U at work Posted: October 13, 2013 at 07:37 PM (#4571276)
The University of North Dakota, multiple national championships in hockey, changed its name.


UND is halfway there. The school has dropped the Fighting Sioux nickname, but it hasn't adopted a replacement.
   124. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 13, 2013 at 07:44 PM (#4571279)
(Of course, there are other Rebels who never have, notably Ole Miss.)


Ole Miss are now the Bears, or the Sharks, or something. Who the hell knows.
   125. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: October 13, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4571296)
If and when Native American tribes unite and make the Redskins name change question a top priority, your question will be ripe.


The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) just released a report last Thursday outlining their position on the "Redskins".
   126. John Shade has yet to hear the Squeak Posted: October 13, 2013 at 08:31 PM (#4571303)
Of course you may be right that the fans with the biggest emotional ties to the Redskins name would eventually die off, and be replaced by a generation for whom the name is simply regarded as being (in the famous phrase) "before my time". But in the meantime, I think it'd take a couple of unlikely Super Bowl trophies to make up for the loss in emotional connection among the existing fanbase.
This is a weird argument. The fans are so emotionally invested in the football team that they're going to abandon their fandom over a name change (away from a racial slur, no less)?

The players and coaches will still be the same. The stadium will still be the same. The trophies will still be there. The team colors will probably still be same.

A bunch of loudmouths will call in to talk radio and complain about political correctness. But they're not going to give up football. If there's one thing that the public's reaction to all the concussion revelations has shown it's that people will still watch football no matter what.
   127. greenback wears sandals on his head Posted: October 13, 2013 at 08:46 PM (#4571322)
One more time, companies rebrand when there's an opportunity to enhance their image, as was the case with Datsun/Nissan. The automaker was pursuing a global strategy and the Nissan name was already being used everywhere save North America.

Actually TIL the Datsun name is being re-introduced in emerging markets. Anyway I can't see how you can argue with a straight face that anybody in North America cared about the Nissan/Datsun name change.

Even when the Bullets were good, they were barely noticed, let alone worshipped in this market, so Abe Pollin wasn't off his rocker by changing the name.

Distinction without a difference. They're the NFL franchise in Washington and they employ RG3. All the rest is self-important MBA-speak. What's weird is that an occasional re-branding of the franchise means jersey sales.

By the terms of the Lenovo-IBM personal computer agreement, the Chinese firm wasn't allowed to keep the IBM name for more than five years.

The terms weren't negotiated at the point of a gun. If the IBM name was that valuable, then the Chinese firm could have found the right price to continue to license it.
   128. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 13, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4571425)
Anyway I can't see how you can argue with a straight face that anybody in North America cared about the Nissan/Datsun name change.

Um, what? I didn't argue it.
Distinction without a difference. They're the NFL franchise in Washington and they employ RG3. All the rest is self-important MBA-speak.

Yeah, right. Spoken like a guy who has never lived in Washington but more than ready to tell the owner of the most valuable (top 10, anyway) sports franchises on the planet to ditch the brand.
The terms weren't negotiated at the point of a gun. If the IBM name was that valuable, then the Chinese firm could have found the right price to continue to license it.

On the other hand, Beijing has been desparate to have a global brand that they can take pride in calling their own.

EDIT: In retrospect, perhaps I should have taken Ray's hint in #103.
   129. Barnaby Jones Posted: October 13, 2013 at 09:57 PM (#4571428)
If the IBM name was that valuable, then the Chinese firm could have found the right price to continue to license it.


They did that with the ThinkPad brand. And I'm pretty sure Lenovo was interested in growing their own brand, not just pretending to be IBM for eternity.
   130. rr Posted: October 13, 2013 at 10:29 PM (#4571510)
If your liberal white guilt plagues you, that's your problem.


Sure. Same goes for your 2-x-4-up-my-ass-anti-PC-oppressed straight white male BS, which you have trotted out on numerous threads, although you cannot touch DiPerna in that category.

See how easy that was?

The rest of your post was better.
   131. rr Posted: October 13, 2013 at 10:37 PM (#4571531)
Surprised that Andy is so worried about Dan Snyder's investment. I think Snyder would do better to worry more about getting a better team on the field and to worry less about the name of the team.

I am sure that many Native Americans are bothered by the name to varying degrees, and that many are not bothered at all or are just bothered a little. But I tend to think that the brand is easily strong enough in DC and environs to survive the name change, particularly if they keep the colors, and they might even be able to keep the logo, since as I understand it, the people who are bothered are bothered by the name.

   132. CrosbyBird Posted: October 13, 2013 at 10:43 PM (#4571542)
Oh, and Avenue of the Americas is such a better name than Sixth Avenue. It's no contest.

Avenue of the Americas is worthless garbage. It's Sixth Avenue.
   133. greenback wears sandals on his head Posted: October 13, 2013 at 10:44 PM (#4571543)
Um, what? I didn't argue it.

Then what's your point on Nissan/Datsun? How are they enhancing their image if nobody actually cares about the name?

Yeah, right. Spoken like a guy who has never lived in Washington but more than ready to tell the owner of the most valuable (top 10, anyway) sports franchises on the planet to ditch the brand.

When you resort to this kind of argument, you are saying that you cannot articulate the value of the "Redskins" name. That's your failure, not mine.

They did that with the ThinkPad brand. And I'm pretty sure Lenovo was interested in growing their own brand, not just pretending to be IBM for eternity.

Of course. But the value of the brand comes from the product, not the name on the product.
   134. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 13, 2013 at 10:50 PM (#4571551)
But even so, what has been the impact at Stanford and Syracuse?


Well, Stanford's mascot is now an anthropomorphic tree, so it hasn't been without negative effects.
   135. SoSH U at work Posted: October 13, 2013 at 10:54 PM (#4571557)
Avenue of the Americas is worthless garbage. It's Sixth Avenue.


Sixth Avenue was truly an inspired name. Whoever came up with that one was really a master at the art of naming ####.

Obviously, numbered streets have immense value, and it would be foolish for the city to rename all of them. But as a standalone entity, I think Avenue of the Americas rolls off the tongue quite nicely, and as the father of a geography nut, I like the idea of the national seals dotting the street. OTOH, the only thing "Sixth Avenue" has going for it its appearance in Balloon Man.

The raging against AotA strikes me as something New Yorkers (of which I used to be one, though from the suburbs) do because it's something New Yorkers have always done. I don't know how one could truly have any heart for it. It's like railing against the league that wins the all-star game getting HFA. Maybe it's not the best method in the world, but the previous system was taking the calendar year and dividing by 2, so it's not like the old should possibly inspire a lot of strong sentiment.
   136. CrosbyBird Posted: October 13, 2013 at 11:14 PM (#4571576)
The raging against AotA strikes me as something New Yorkers (of which I used to be one, though from the suburbs) do because it's something New Yorkers have always done.

I don't rage against it. I just never use it, and never hear anyone else use it in my day-to-day existence in Manhattan. Calling it Avenue of the Americas is like trying to make fetch happen. Unlike Columbus Avenue, which people actually do use.

Avenue of the Americas is very cumbersome to use in everyday life. It doesn't abbreviate nicely either. "I'll be on the northwest corner of 40th and Americas"?
   137. SoSH U at work Posted: October 13, 2013 at 11:19 PM (#4571588)
Avenue of the Americas is very cumbersome to use in everyday life. It doesn't abbreviate nicely either.


That is a valid criticism, though I suspect if people ever started using it, an abbreviated version for such situations would also emerge.
   138. Morty Causa Posted: October 13, 2013 at 11:39 PM (#4571664)
Honesty requires the recognition that urging name-changes under the basis articulated here is at its heart censorship. I would think that those making the argument supporting name changes on this basis understand that, and understand that it should be undertaken only for just, serious cause. And they should also understand that what's sauce for the gander....
   139. CrosbyBird Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:03 AM (#4571743)
Honesty requires the recognition that urging name-changes under the basis articulated here is at its heart censorship.

I am not in favor of legislation forcing the Redskins to change their name or banning Chief Wahoo. I do think both are in poor taste and that it would be fundamentally decent to make a change.
   140. rr Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:10 AM (#4571750)
Honesty requires the recognition that urging name-changes under the basis articulated here is at its heart censorship


Nah. This is just your intense emotional identification with anti-PC sentiments kicking in. I don't think that the government should force Snyder to change the name, and while I am sure that some people do, I doubt it is a large number. If the NFL decided to force him to do it, that would probably fall under the "A business doing what it thinks is best for itself within the law and its contractual arrangements", since the NFL operates its franchises as financially connected entities. There might be a trademark or other legal issue there, but I doubt it. RDP or someone else with a relevant knowledge base might know.

And while I could be wrong, I think that there is virtually no chance that either the league or the government will do anything about the Redskins' nickname, and I don't think that either body should.

One of your problems is that you conflate agency and sensibilities; when people at BTF say that they disagree with you or that you are full of it, you use words like suppression etc. and accuse people of trying to muzzle you, when in fact only one person here has the agency needed to suppress your BTF speech: Furtado. And since BTF is his property, he can do that, just like I could kick you out of my living room for saying "Redskins" if I wanted to.

So, some people's sensibilities are offended by the name Redskins; others are offended by those people saying that they are offended, and by the attempt some of them make through the media to get Snyder to change the name. Therefore, we are arguing about that, and about whether Snyder's prerogatives as the owner/caretaker of the Washington Redskins brand supersedes the fact that certain aspects of US history make it quite reasonable that some people are offended by the name, and that the name is widely disseminated as part of multi-billion dollar industry.

Censorship doesn't have jack to do with it, unless the FCC tells Snyder to rename the team the Washington Shutdowns.
   141. Morty Causa Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:46 AM (#4571769)
The fact is though, Legionaires of Decency, that is what you are promoting--a censor's mentality. That you see it as for a righteous cause, and that you condemn those who point out your repressive inclinations in an ad hominem fashion, is just part and parcel of the song of all who feel their sensibilities should prime and prevail. Objecting to obscenity, to racial epithets (now considered epithets) in Huck Finn, this--c'est tout de même merde, as we Cajuns like to say, and it doesn't reflect well on the mind that maintains the cognitive dissonance.
   142. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:52 AM (#4571771)
Surprised that Andy is so worried about Dan Snyder's investment.

Robin, I'd dance on Dan Snyder's grave if he were to croak. I loathe everything he stands for. IMO he embodies the dark side of just about everything in modern civilization, a sentiment that I can assure you is shared by many millions of people in the Washington area and all around the NFL who've been exposed to his schtick for the past decade and a half.

But since that first sentiment is naughty, I'll amend it to say I'd love to see his whole investment go six feet under, and that he be buried along with it in a pauper's grave at some point down the road.

Have I made myself clear?

And as I've said, I don't give a #### if they change their name or not. I think that there's a lot of posing going on in the anti-nickname camp, but I also grant the sincerity of lots of the nickname's opponents, most eloquently expressed in the link that Steve Sparks provided in #83.

What I've tried to do here, as a Washingtonian for 62 years and as a Redskins fan for the entire time until ####### Snyder entered the picture, is to convey some of the attachment that the great majority of Redskins fans have towards the name, and to the tradition it encompasses. I've also tried to link that to Snyder's concerns about what a name change might do to weaken the connection between the team and its fans. That does NOT mean that I'm personally "worried" about Snyder's investment. I'd much rather he take his billion or whatever he has and invest it in Ted Cruz futures.

You can think all this is exaggerated, and that the ####### Washington "Griffins", or the Washington "Warriors", (which is the halfway house of "offensive" nicknames, I suppose), or the Washington "Beltway Bandits", or the Washington Whatevers, would have no problem retaining the same degree of universal loyalty to the team that they have under the Redskins name. I doubt that seriously, but I might well be wrong, and there's only one way to find out.

But in the meantime, don't conflate me with Snyder, or I'll start spreading rumors about you and Joey B. Okay?

   143. rr Posted: October 14, 2013 at 01:53 AM (#4571785)
Andy,

No one is conflating you with Snyder, but I think you should consider that part of what you are sticking up for here is Snyder's financial interest in a strong brand and maintaining what is left of what I would guess is a tenuous relationship with his team's fanbase. If he dropped dead tomorrow, you would have the same opinion, and I get that, but for the moment he is the guy who could make the change, is one of the main people making money off the brand, and is his own word will "NEVER" make the switch.

I think all fanbases of longstanding teams are attached to the nickname, particularly if there is a tradition that involves some championship success at some point attached to it. I am attached to the names/colors etc. Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Lakers. Most guys here have similar feelings about their teams, I am sure.

But, are the Redskins' fans feelings in that regard more important than the socio-historical implications of the name and the feelings of people who find it offensive? There is no answer to that, but I think you can make a pretty good case that the answer is, "No, probably not." So, that leads us back IMO to my earlier question--Snyder's prerogatives as owner vs. the wider implications of the name.

Also, while fandom is a wholly subjective thing and there is no right way to root for your team, I do find it hard to believe that large numbers of loyal fans would bail on the the team because of a name change. We are not talking about a fire sale or a franchise shift. There would probably be some people who would bail because Snyder "caved", but hell, those people could still wear Redskins gear if they wanted to and I would imagine a huge internet market would spring up using/referencing the logo or a close facsimile thereof, and I can't see Snyder ordering his stadium security guys to tell people to stow Redskins gear in their cars or bags at the gate of the Washington Warriors' first game (Snyder trademarked that name for an Arena league Team) even if he was not making any money off that gear.
   144. rr Posted: October 14, 2013 at 02:48 AM (#4571795)
The fact is though, Legionaires of Decency, that is what you are promoting--a censor's mentality


The fact is, though, that as a Legionnaire of Privilege, that is what you are promoting--a racist's mentality. After all, by leaving the name in place, you want your sensibilities to prime and prevail.

I like the Huck Finn comp--it was almost as good as The Merchant of Venice comp earlier.

You don't have much on this one, Mort. I'm sure a tough-minded ol' Cajun like you can own that, though.









   145. rr Posted: October 14, 2013 at 02:50 AM (#4571796)
143 should say "no definitive answer."
   146. BrianBrianson Posted: October 14, 2013 at 05:34 AM (#4571803)
Of course, "Capitals, Senators, Nationals" etc. all stink as team names. But there's an excellent branding opportunity right now for the "Washington Shutdown" - which is an excellent team name.
   147. OsunaSakata Posted: October 14, 2013 at 07:07 AM (#4571814)
Ole Miss are now the Bears, or the Sharks, or something. Who the hell knows.


Ole Miss is still the Rebels. The bear is just the guy in the silly costume. They guy is the silly costume used to a be a slaveowner.
   148. All In The Guetterman, Looking Up At The Stargell Posted: October 14, 2013 at 08:12 AM (#4571823)
My alma mater changed from the Indians to the Red Wolves. IIRC, though I wasn't in the state at the time, there wasn't much resistance to the change. But then no one in the state or anywhere else really gives a #### about ASU, and though my state is Southern and racist a LOT of people identify as having Native American ancestry. My only complaint is not that the name was changed, but that it was changed to something so lame and generic.

The fact is, though, that as a Legionnaire of Privilege, that is what you are promoting--a racist's mentality.


Both of course bad, but all things being equal, and provided neither are allowed to seep into government policy, I would think a liberal society would prefer the racist mentality as less proscriptive.

   149. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 14, 2013 at 08:14 AM (#4571824)
Andy,

No one is conflating you with Snyder,


Funny, then, that you would say I was "worried about Dan Snyder's investment". Perhaps you might have chosen a more accurate way of getting your point across.

One more time: I was/am trying to present the case as multi-generations of Redskins fans are seeing it. The link in #83 presents the case for dropping the Redskins name quite eloquently. I would suggest that everyone read it, especially those whose instincts are with the status quo, since it does a far better job of addressing the counterpoint of those Native American opinion polls than anyone here has done.

Of course if you think that there's only one legitimate side to this issue**, then nothing is going to convince you. It won't be the first time on BTF that that POV has manifested itself, but I'm not losing any sleep over it.

**That comment is not directed at you.

   150. DKDC Posted: October 14, 2013 at 08:38 AM (#4571832)
I'm a lifelong Redskins fan, and I'm pretty confident that they could change their name to the Washington Buttlickers and not suffer a significant loss in fans.

The Redskins tradition (like any sports team) is the shared memories of great players and great plays and great coaches and great games and Super Bowls won. And of course the memories of all the bad years and fumbles and chokes and interceptions. The team name has always been there, as have some of the other trappings like the fight song, but the name isn't what ties the fans to the team.

Snyder is fighting a losing battle here, and he's missing the opportunity to get some goodwill PR out of the inevitable name change. Not to mention, he can sell a ton of new jerseys.
   151. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 14, 2013 at 08:47 AM (#4571837)
Ole Miss are now the Bears, or the Sharks, or something. Who the hell knows.

Ole Miss is still the Rebels. The bear is just the guy in the silly costume. They guy is the silly costume used to a be a slaveowner.


The bear is an abomination chosen through a rigged sham election, and now you're telling me he's a slaveowner too? How I weep for my beloved Ole Miss, where we'd sing "Dixie" at last call with nary a dry eye in the house.
   152. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 14, 2013 at 08:55 AM (#4571840)
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) just released a report last Thursday outlining their position on the "Redskins".


Bo-ring. Clearly they've been mesmerized by the White Man's PR-speak. I think most people would be much more likely to pay attention to their claims if they were worded more appropriately; what captures your attention more vigorously, this pablum press release:

The report NCAI has released today provides the history of an overwhelming movement to end the era of harmful “Indian” mascots – including the fact that Native peoples have fought these mascots since 1963 and no professional sports team has established a new ‘Indian’ mascot since 1964.


Or this more culturally salient version, preferably delivered in a darkened auditorium by a man in full tribal regalia:

FOR MANY MOONS, GREAT CHIEFS FIGHT WHITE MAN TO END-UM DEMEANING MASCOT NAMES.


Opportunity missed.
   153. BDC Posted: October 14, 2013 at 09:05 AM (#4571846)
Since JE has expressed concern that I'm advocating corporate rebranding without any of my own money at stake, I'll make a modest promise: if the Redskins are renamed, I will buy a Whatevers jersey and wear it to a game at Cowboys Stadium (which I believe has also recently been rebranded to something or other :)

This is not only a daring move, but it's in the spirit of my point. There is extremely little chance in hell I'd buy a Redskins jersey to begin with. So there's a new market for Washington to exploit: bleeding-heart liberal Cowboys fans. All five or six of us.
   154. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 14, 2013 at 09:19 AM (#4571855)
I missed the edit window for my previous post, but please note from the NCAI report that the appropriate and racially sensitive way to write the offensive team name is "Redsk*ns". Please adjust your posts accordingly.

Happy Columbus Day all, a phony holiday championed by Papist goombahs to celebrate a slaver.
   155. BDC Posted: October 14, 2013 at 09:27 AM (#4571859)
Hey, it's not even the actual Columbus Day. It's a phony holiday instituted by Richard Nixon to sell mattresses.

Real Papists consider today to be the feast of St. Callistus, pope and martyr. The guy really was a martyr, he'd eat sandwiches made of the ends of the bread and drink whatever cold coffee was in the pot. Really, it's OK, he didn't mind.
   156. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 14, 2013 at 09:31 AM (#4571863)
that is what you are promoting--a censor's mentality


Because no one can express an opinion suggesting something change without being a censor!

This is silly. Society functions on a bedrock of social mores. And these mores change over time. As they change, people express outrage partly to enforce these changes. Censorship is denying people something*. No one is being denied anything, they are just being chastised for violating those social mores.

* More to the point it is done from a place of power, it is done in an official capacity. This is very much not that, unless I guess you believe this is all the Cathedral doing it.
   157. BDC Posted: October 14, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4571871)
Being able to tell someone else that their speech or display is offensive is part of Oliver Wendell Holmes's "free trade in ideas." It's the opposite of censorship.
   158. The Good Face Posted: October 14, 2013 at 09:50 AM (#4571876)
Honesty requires the recognition that urging name-changes under the basis articulated here is at its heart censorship. I would think that those making the argument supporting name changes on this basis understand that, and understand that it should be undertaken only for just, serious cause. And they should also understand that what's sauce for the gander....


Who, Whom Morty. All that matters to these folks is Who is doing What to Whom. Since they approve of the goal and don't care about the people and institutions they're bullying, it's OK. Of course they understand sauce for the gander, but it's not their goose being cooked this time, and so they don't care. Just watch their reaction when you try to take offense to something they like...

   159. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 14, 2013 at 09:54 AM (#4571879)
The whole "brand" meme is a stupid term used by armchair MBAs to try to sound "smart."

It really has little applicability to a sports franchise. No one has trouble identifying the product(s) being offered by the Washington NFL franchise and no one confuses them with other products -- the primary reasons products are "branded." Indeed, the product is often identified as simply "Washington," without the racial slur the franchise's owner appended to the city name roughly 8 decades ago. And when it that is done, everyone knows the product being talked about.

And, look -- it's hard to imagine anything being worse for a franchise's "brand" than the team's owner changing from an old guy who won all the time to Daniel M. ####### Snyder, a dullard and top-shelf dou&he;-bag. If the "brand" can survive that, it can survive being changed to "Washington Redhawks."
   160. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 14, 2013 at 09:57 AM (#4571883)
There might be a trademark or other legal issue there, but I doubt it. RDP or someone else with a relevant knowledge base might know.

There is a trademark issue. You can't trademark racial slurs or offensive names.(*) There's a lawsuit pending with the Trademark Court now regarding "Redskins." The best thing would be for the judge to forbid the trademark.

Costas had a small essay on the matter last night, rightly noting the straightforward fact that the name is a stand-alone racial slur.

(*) That isn't the precise legal standard, but it's close enough and I'm too lazy to look it up.
   161. McCoy Posted: October 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4571887)
You can't trademark racial slurs or offensive names.(*)

Oh yeah? Explain this
   162. Morty Causa Posted: October 14, 2013 at 10:10 AM (#4571894)
Sorry, but holding that the suppression of free speech is free speech is just too cute for words, free or otherwise.

Are you or are you not for the bowdlerization of Huck Finn? Forget the legality. What's your principle, and how do you justify it.

Why do the people who get so upset over censorship of what others think obscene suddenly do a flip and want to sacralize what, for a better term, is often referred to as PC issues?

As to this idea of speech, expression, and censorship, what does privilege have to do with it--or rather, why does that magically dispose of the principle at issue?



   163. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 14, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4571898)
One more time: I was/am trying to present the case as multi-generations of Redskins fans are seeing it. The link in #83 presents the case for dropping the Redskins name quite eloquently. I would suggest that everyone read it, especially those whose instincts are with the status quo, since it does a far better job of addressing the counterpoint of those Native American opinion polls than anyone here has done.

Those fans are attached to a racial slur.

The fact that the name was allowed to be used for so long demonstrates how politically isolated the Native Americans are, and that political isolation is itself a reason to get rid of the name. The name's durability self-evidently can't be a valid reason to justify its continued use, given this underlying source of its durability.
   164. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 14, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4571899)
Sorry, but holding that the suppression of free speech is free speech is just too cute for words, free or otherwise.


Suggesting they should change their offensive name is not the same as suppressing free speech. They are different things. The rest of your post has nothing to do with that.

And by the way you seem to be flipping between "suppressing free speech" and "censorship". Are they the same in your mind? Is suggesting their name is offensive and they should change it both?
   165. Morty Causa Posted: October 14, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4571901)
Who, Whom Morty. All that matters to these folks is Who is doing What to Whom. Since they approve of the goal and don't care about the people and institutions they're bullying, it's OK. Of course they understand sauce for the gander, but it's not their goose being cooked this time, and so they don't care. Just watch their reaction when you try to take offense to something they like..

Yes, well put. It's all about whose ox is being gored--but they'll never analyze it in those terms. Why? instead they want it to be about some higher moral point, which they don't want to go into either. Just too cute. And honesty should compel them to admit that, and to acknowledge they cannot reconcile the contradictions. It's scary when interest diverge, and nothing is so comforting as making those who believe differently suck your dick (thinking-wise, of course). But that's what it is; their hands are not clean and they are not on some holy crusade (especially since there is no such thing). And this applies to both sides--the privileged and the...er...privileged.

EDIT:
   166. BDC Posted: October 14, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4571916)
Are you or are you not for the bowdlerization of Huck Finn?

I'm not for it. Now let's say I could be put in a time machine and Sam Clemens would give me a hearing about how to write it. (I think he'd love that opportunity, to hear from 2013 about how his work is perceived.)

The "N-word" itself doesn't bother me so much (it is used, after all, in a vast range of artistic texts by white and black writers alike, with impressive effect, and in the service of realism). But I don't like the way that Jim, in the novel, goes from being a source of wisdom with most of the best lines to being, by the end, a big child who has to be rescued by Tom Sawyer. I'd tell the author that; I'd advise him to write it differently and make it a better book with more respect for black people: to make Jim a stronger character. In effect, when I discuss the book now, I'm telling the author that, though the conversation is a bit asynchronous.

Telling the management of the Redskins that they should name their club differently is, to me, on the same plane.

That's just me, though: there seems to be some other weird imaginary straw man around here that y'all are also arguing with :)
   167. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 14, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4571920)
Morty heap big whiner, cry like lonely squaw when brave out hunting, claim-um free speech suppression with forked tongue.
   168. BrianBrianson Posted: October 14, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4571922)
In any event, racist team names are apparently an important part of football. Washington has nothing on Edmonton in this regard.
   169. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM (#4571931)
But, are the Redskins' fans feelings in that regard more important than the socio-historical implications of the name and the feelings of people who find it offensive?

I am not all that interested in what the bleeding hearts have to say, but at least Sparks found a NCAI press release indicating some Native American opposition to the name. If more NA entities chime in, I will be happy to alter my viewpoint.

And like Andy, I detest Danny Boy Snyder. (Unlike Andy, I have always detested the Redskins.)

EDIT: This was cute:

The Washington Redskins have been under pressure for some time to change their name, due to all the hatred, violence, oppression and hostility associated with it, and have finally agreed to a change.

From now on, they will be known simply as the Redskins.
   170. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 14, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4571934)
There is a trademark issue. You can't trademark racial slurs or offensive names.(*) There's a lawsuit pending with the Trademark Court now regarding "Redskins." The best thing would be for the judge to forbid the trademark.

I'd love to see the Redskins trademark taken away for many reasons, but you might note that the first time such a suit was brought against the Redskins, it was dismissed. There's no guarantee how this one will turn out.

---------------------------------------------------

One more time: I was/am trying to present the case as multi-generations of Redskins fans are seeing it. The link in #83 presents the case for dropping the Redskins name quite eloquently. I would suggest that everyone read it, especially those whose instincts are with the status quo, since it does a far better job of addressing the counterpoint of those Native American opinion polls than anyone here has done.

Those fans are attached to a racial slur.


But tell us what you really think. You've been so unclear up to now.
   171. Morty Causa Posted: October 14, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4571936)
166:

It’s a criticism many have made of the great novel through the years. Although a fine, even brilliant piece of writing on its own terms, the sentiments seem to jar with the romantic, idealistic presentation that came before. Many have attempted to palliate what they see as it’s copping out by excusing it based on narrative terms. They have to return; otherwise, it’s just a political escape novel.

When I was in graduate school I took a course on Twain, and I wrote a paper on the novel that touched specifically on that issue. A problem with Huck Finn stems from that it is constrained by being the first-person narrative of a boy. Huck remains a child, and he has always been in the presence of Tom more passive. He has his limits. The best I can justify the return to Tom Sawyer-like hijinks is that it sets up why Huck lights out for the frontier. It supports Huck and Twain’s tragic sense, even its cynicism. Even Tom fails him. In particular, Tom must be shown to have failed Huck. Huck must realize that without actually being wholly conscious of it, or wanting to admit it. If a movie were made (or better yet, one of those CableTV series), there would be knowing fadeouts at certain points in those last twenty pages or so (before Twain regroups with the wonderfully poetic conclusion). It does require we collaborate with Twain in perhaps a way and to a subtle extent we didn’t have to before—and don’t want to in the end. It’s our test, too, not just Huck’s.
   172. Morty Causa Posted: October 14, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4571940)
The Washington Redskins have been under pressure for some time to change their name, due to all the hatred, violence, oppression and hostility associated with it, and have finally agreed to a change.

From now on, they will be known simply as the Redskins.


This was stolen from The Onion:

DC Redskins
   173. Morty Causa Posted: October 14, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4571941)
There is a trademark issue. You can't trademark racial slurs or offensive names.(*) There's a lawsuit pending with the Trademark Court now regarding "Redskins." The best thing would be for the judge to forbid the trademark.

Getting our way just any old way, as long as we get our way, that's the important thing.



   174. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 14, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4571951)
There is a trademark issue. You can't trademark racial slurs or offensive names.(*) There's a lawsuit pending with the Trademark Court now regarding "Redskins." The best thing would be for the judge to forbid the trademark.

Getting our way just any old way, as long as we get our way, that's the important thing.

Except that voiding the trademark protection wouldn't forbid the use of the Redskins name. All it would do would be to prevent the NFL lawyers from going after "unauthorized" Redskins memorabilia, memorabilia of the sort that used to be sold for many decades before the suits started their monopoly crusade. I doubt if anyone except Snyder would shed any tears over a ruling that reduced Snyder's take** on Redskins memorabilia from 100% to about 90%.

**For all I know it may be split 32 ways, but that's irrelevant to the central question of NFL exclusivity.
   175. Sunday silence Posted: October 14, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4571958)
It bothers me when people accuse Andy of defending Dan Snyder. He said no such thing and in fact made it clear on numerous times he doesnt like the man.

So he makes an intellectual argument about why a business might averse to changing it's logo or trademark or mascot or whatever you call it. It's an intellectual argument. Hell, it's not even intellectual it's just being adult about it and not just saying "change the name, motherfuker."

It's not that hard to use your brains and try to read a little understand what someone is trying to say. It seems to me you're just going out of your way to insult someone.

****

Also I do not get why some say that it doesnt matter that very few people use the term "Redskin" to insult someone.

Isnt this whole issue (get rid of Redskin name) all about sensibilities anyways? Isnt that the whole basis for the argument? Isnt it releveant if very few people are insulted? or if very few actually use this term in a derogatory way?

ANd if you go down this road the next issue is: How many people are actually offended? SO the whole issue almost becomes a reductio ad absurdum. If it really comes down to the difference between 10% and 5% then the whole issue seems rather silly.

Does anyone feel insulted by the name: Yankee?

In theory it is an insult, or at least I think it is. Admittedly no one uses it that way in my circle of friends. Does it matter if no one is actually insulted and/or upset? Does it matter if only one person is insulted?

Does it make a difference if the white people who are designated as "Yankees" are higher up on the social order than most native americans? Is it fair to treat any group of people in general terms, when in fact there are lots of poor whites and possibly a few prosperous indians?

These are the sorts of intellectual quagmire you get into with this issue.

Personally I feel the only intellectual position is to not worry about words, per se. Tastelessness, I can understand.
   176. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 14, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4571968)
Does anyone feel insulted by the name: Yankee?


I'm the Yankee Redneck, I think either term is a perfectly fine moniker for a pro sports team. I'd love to root for the Memphis Rednecks or what have you.
   177. rr Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4571977)
I am not all that interested in what the bleeding hearts have to say


Sure, but as long as we are tossing cliche'd, derogatory labels around, I am not all that interested in what Politically Conservative (or liberal) Anti-PC White Guys have to say. Like I have pointed out, those arguments are very easy to make and don't really go any place.

Yes, well put. It's all about whose ox is being gored--but they'll never analyze it in those terms. Why? instead they want it to be about some higher moral point, which they don't want to go into either


Again-nah. If Snyder doesn't want to change the name, I don't he should be forced to, and if he is forced to do so in court, I expect that he will make a business decision as to whether he should fight it, unless Goodell tells him not to. Of course, you are supposedly all about obeying the law, going along with what the system says, so I assume that you would tell him to lump it and take his medicine, no matter how rich he is--the system has spoken. But maybe not.

But, if you want to go all GoodFacey on us, do what he can't do: look in the mirror, self-assess, and show a little internet-level sack. Why does this issue matter to you? What is it in your demographic profile that makes this an issue for you? What biases and emotions are you bringing to the table here? Why is it that the attempt to change the name offends you? It's just the name of a sports team. If the name bothers some people based on some very real issues in US history, why not change it? Are you upholding a principle? Or are you just reactive and arrogant when you think people go all PC? I assume that you think it is a free speech issue, so make the case, without making dumb comparisons to 19th century works of literature.

As far as Andy and Snyder, I take Andy at his word in terms of how he feels about Snyder and about the name change. But the fact is that Snyder is the guy at the moment who has the most obvious commercial/public relations interest in keeping the name.

   178. rr Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4571979)
Both of course bad, but all things being equal, and provided neither are allowed to seep into government policy, I would think a liberal society would prefer the racist mentality as less proscriptive.


I was just mocking Morty's rhetoric; I don't really believe people opposed to the name change are consciously doing that. I claim no expertise on Native Americans, but I know, that like all groups, that they are not a monolith, or this or any other issue, so I assume that some of them really care about this issue, some care a little, and some don't care at all.

Same with Redskins fans, going the other way.
   179. rr Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4571980)
Here's a new one: I agree with some of the points SBB made above.
   180. BDC Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4571982)
Very interesting, Morty! You and I probably agree on Huckleberry Finn, and you've certainly framed your critique of it in a better-informed way than I could.

Huckleberry Finn is strongly anti-racist, both in intent and achievement. I am always amazed by offense taken to the mere printing of the N-word, in such anti-racist contexts. The novel has the flaws that you point out, but Mark Twain is so not one of those people for whom one has to make allowances: he was not just progressive "for his time," but continues to be a progressive force in ours.

   181. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4571995)
Again-nah. If Snyder doesn't want to change the name, I don't he should be forced to, and if he is forced to do so in court, I expect that he will make a business decision as to whether he should fight it, unless Goodell tells him not to.

Robin, understand the point that's been repeatedly made: No court can order Snyder to change the name of his team. The lawsuit he's engaged in is solely about trademark exclusivity. He obviously wishes to conflate the two issues for business reasons, but he could lose his trademark exclusivity, still keep the name, and still sell his RGIII jerseys for as long as he wishes. His sole loss from an adverse ruling would be his (or the NFL's) ability to shut down "unauthorized" vendors who were selling memorabilia with the Redskins name or logo on it.
   182. nick swisher hygiene Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4571996)
you conflate agency and sensibilities; when people .... say that they disagree with you or that you are full of it, you use words like suppression etc. and accuse people of trying to muzzle you

--I will borrow rr's language here to observe that this particular dishonesty is the defining characteristic of American free-speech zealots. These zealots care about a principle only and exactly to the extent that it supports their own assholery. (Of course, this aligns them with principled defenders of states' rights, etc, etc....)

   183. rr Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4571998)
Funny, then, that you would say I was "worried about Dan Snyder's investment". Perhaps you might have chosen a more accurate way of getting your point across.


What I would say here is to follow your usual precepts of:

a) Looking at everything I have said, rather than pulling out a word that bothers you.
b) Take note of the sarcasm and not take it too seriously. I don't follow the NFL much anymore, but I am aware of how you feel about Snyder.

That said, your initial foray into this was focused in part on commercial interests--Snyder's interests--merchandise, etc. And, of course, the fact that Snyder is Snyder doesn't mean that he is wrong about everything. So if you did happen to land on his side on an issue, that is not an indictment of you.

Personally, I think he should talk with his team's fans and season-ticket holders, set up some communication between those groups and Native American groups, explain things, and change the name. That approach reflects my biases and demographics, but I think that is the best solution here. There are other ways to look at it.
   184. rr Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4572000)

Robin, understand the point that's been repeatedly made:


Ok, if that is true, then this is basically up to Snyder, right? So see above. I said what I think he should do. What do you think he should do?
   185. SoSH U at work Posted: October 14, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4572005)
His sole loss from an adverse ruling would be his (or the NFL's) ability to shut down "unauthorized" vendors who were selling memorabilia with the Redskins name or logo on it.


And I wonder how long a situation where ruthless unauthorized vendors were profiting on the backs of the poor exploited NFL would last before Snyder/the NFL determined that changing the name was the right thing to do.

   186. nick swisher hygiene Posted: October 14, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4572008)
...and to jump in on Huck Finn, Morty, BDC, I agree with both you guys, but would add that an anti-racist novel can nonetheless have racist effects in the world (as evidenced, say, by the history of debates over book's status as compulsory text at high school and lower levels of the American curriculum)...see Jonathan Arac's work re. this, though I imagine you guys know it already.

...which leads me to the main topic of this thread: to argue against Huck Finn as compulsory school text is NOT to argue for the censorship of Huck Finn! but the willful conflation of the two arguments, of course, dominates the debate.

(aside: no, the recent edition of HF with "slave" substituted for the key term is not an adequate solution in my opinion--it's a ####### terrible solution!)
   187. rr Posted: October 14, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4572009)
SoSH,

Good point. But, in that scenario, Snyder might see the upside as outweighing the downside, in terms of relations with the team's fanbase. The League, though, would probably see it differently.
   188. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 14, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4572024)
Good point. But, in that scenario, Snyder might see the upside as outweighing the downside, in terms of relations with the team's fanbase. The League, though, would probably see it differently.


And the general public really only gets to weigh in as a consumer expressing a preference (and influencing other consumer's preferences). Which is why calling what people are doing "censorship" is ridiculous.

Those who are fighting for a name change (Redskins, Braves, wherever) are fighting an uphill battle. The odds are long, but they only have to succeed once per name, and the issue seems to be slowly moving in their direction (with many ups and downs along the way).
   189. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 14, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4572025)
Robin, understand the point that's been repeatedly made:


Ok, if that is true, then this is basically up to Snyder, right? So see above. I said what I think he should do. What do you think he should do?


I don't give a damn what he does one way or the other. I sympathize with both sides, hard as that may be for you to believe, and neither outcome would bother me.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

His sole loss from an adverse ruling would be his (or the NFL's) ability to shut down "unauthorized" vendors who were selling memorabilia with the Redskins name or logo on it.

And I wonder how long a situation where unauthorized vendors were profiting on the backs of the exploited NFL would last before Snyder/the NFL determined that changing the name was the right thing to do.


Good question, but consider a few realities. Even without the fear of a crippling lawsuit, unauthorized Redskins memorabilia still couldn't be sold:

---Inside FedEx

---Inside any other NFL stadium

---On any NFL-affiliated website

---On any independent website that wished to sell memorabilia from the other 31 teams

It's also not likely that any of the existing NFL memorabilia manufacturers would ever enter into contracts with any unauthorized sellers of Redskins memorabilia. Are you beginning to get the drift?

Sure, he'd lose a bit of revenue from DC sidewalk vendors who didn't mind being blackballed by authorized wholesalers of other NFL teams' jerseys. And I can pretty much guarantee that I'd be trying to push Redskins posters in places I wouldn't dare to otherwise.

And sure, Snyder might see even these trifling intrusions as some sort of mountainous molehill, and decide to chuck 76 years of history and tradition just to retain his precious exclusivity. Could happen, especially if he sees it as an opportunity to sell "Griffins" or "Warriors" memorabilia to his former enemies. Ya never know.

Which would then leave nobody but "unauthorized" entrepreneurs to fill the demand of the great majority of Washington fans for souvenirs of the team name that they grew up with.** And Snyder wouldn't be getting a penny of it.

Somehow I don't see that happening.

**I won't bore you with the details of how many "unauthorized" posters I was able to sell in my tiny independent book shop between 2001 and 2006, before I closed the shop, went legit, and started getting those college licenses while ditching the NFL and MLB. But trust me, there's a huge market for anything retro, and Snyder knows it. Right now he's caught between a rock and a hard place, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
   190. SoSH U at work Posted: October 14, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4572033)
Somehow I don't see that happening.


I think you're wrong. I think if selling unlicensed Redskin memorabilia becomes truly legal, with no threat of action against the sellers, the odes to tradition and history and whatnot will be replaced by sensitivity and understanding and the need to do what's right for Native Americans.
   191. Morty Causa Posted: October 14, 2013 at 01:42 PM (#4572035)
Huckleberry Finn is strongly anti-racist, both in intent and achievement. I am always amazed by offense taken to the mere printing of the N-word, in such anti-racist contexts. The novel has the flaws that you point out, but Mark Twain is so not one of those people for whom one has to make allowances: he was not just progressive "for his time," but continues to be a progressive force in ours.

There is no more anti-racist novel than Huck Finn (and Twain-Clemens got to where he favored monetary payment for past wrongs), unless it's To Kill A Mockingbird, and some people would like to get it out of the classrooms and libraries. I mean, TKAM! What kind of mentality doesn't grasp the essential point there, and doesn't understand that without the portrayal of racist attitudes and language, there's no there there.

The "niggardly" types, that's who. You might say that's really lowballing, and if the effects were only literary and philosophical, I would agree. But there is a political consideration. These people, just like the toothless Alabama (or wherever) cracker who actually was furious (he's real) that Obama would get the government involved in his Medicaid, get to vote, get to assemble and petition representatives of government. I mean, what can you say? An intellectual argument is something those mentalities (they are the same) will never begin to understand.

So, it's not just putting forth a reductio ad absurdum. It's real, and it really can get on a runaway express track, whether it's the Old New Left or the never say die States Rights racism. Recognizing it is one thing. Coming up with a political mechanism to deal with both is another. But the first step is to acknowledge they are the same, sympathies dues to social or class position or limited historical readings notwithstanding.

   192. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 14, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4572045)
I think you're wrong. I think if selling unlicensed Redskin memorabilia becomes truly legal, with no threat of action against the sellers, the odes to tradition and history and whatnot will be replaced by sensitivity and understanding and the need to do what's right for Native Americans.

Sure, on the part of some people. Without exclusivity, the question would be whether Snyder thought he could sell more authorized "Griffins" or "Wizards" memorabilia, or more non-exclusive Redskins memorabilia.**

In turn, the answer to that would rest with Redskins fans, the great majority of whom at this point favor retaining the current name. I'm sure that this would change over time as the Redskins name faded into ancient history, but then in the long run we're all dead.

**One major factor in favor of the change (in Snyder's mind) might be that relative to total memorabilia sales, the number of items with the actual Redskins logo as the selling point is relatively small. As long as he was able to retain the team colors, which he would be insane to change in the event of a name change, he wouldn't lose any RGIII jersey sales because of the switch, and at that point his decision would lie in his evaluation of the "political" strength of the opposing arguments.
   193. Morty Causa Posted: October 14, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4572047)
You're grounded, son. And, you, daughter, you can't go to the prom. You'll thank me later.
   194. rr Posted: October 14, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4572104)
I don't give a damn what he does one way or the other. I sympathize with both sides, hard as that may be for you to believe, and neither outcome would bother me.


I will let you know what I believe; there is no need for you to guess. And if you "don't give a damn what he does", why are you talking about it? But, if we take you at your word, you are probably more objective than most of the rest of us, so what do you think the best outcome would be, looking at the whole picture?
   195. dlf Posted: October 14, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4572121)
Good question, but consider a few realities. Even without the fear of a crippling lawsuit, unauthorized Redskins memorabilia still couldn't be sold:

[snip]

---On any independent website that wished to sell memorabilia from the other 31 teams


Since the NLF doesn't have an antitrust exemption, this would make for a pretty interesting case.
   196. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 14, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4572122)
I will let you know what I believe; there is no need for you to guess. And if you "don't give a damn what he does", why are you talking about it?

There are many subjects that interest me for their own sake, without my having any particular identification with one side or the other. This isn't exactly the social contract vs the Tea Party.

But, if we take you at your word, you are probably more objective than most of the rest of us, so what do you think the best outcome would be, looking at the whole picture?

In the short run? Win about 11 games in a row. That would render the controversy completely moot until the euphoria faded. OTOH if the Skins keep playing like a bunch of cripples, there won't be as much fair weather fans' support to reinforce Snyder's reluctance. All good sports fans enjoy kicking a creep when he's down, no matter what the reason.

In the long run? I honestly don't know. I suppose "history" is on the side of the change, but for the time being history is trumped by tradition. At this point, I think the name change is about as inevitable as Barry Bonds' chances for the Hall of Fame: You'll know it'll probably happen eventually, but "eventually" can often be a very long time. Other people may be confident in making predictions about when the change will happen, and I'm sure some sports book in Vegas will be glad to offer them a proposition.
   197. bunyon Posted: October 14, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4572126)
Saw one of those internet photogags in which it was stated that the Redskins had dropped "Washington" from their name because it was embarrassing.
   198. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 14, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4572129)
Good question, but consider a few realities. Even without the fear of a crippling lawsuit, unauthorized Redskins memorabilia still couldn't be sold:

[snip]

---On any independent website that wished to sell memorabilia from the other 31 teams



Since the NLF doesn't have an antitrust exemption, this would make for a pretty interesting case.


I'll let the lawyers speak to that, but it's hard for me to believe the NFL couldn't find a perfectly legal way of making it in the interest of independent vendors not to deal in unauthorized memorabilia. Even as it stands today, the NFL refuses to license about 90% of its memorabilia applicants, for reasons determined strictly by the NFL.
   199. CrosbyBird Posted: October 14, 2013 at 06:32 PM (#4572251)
I will borrow rr's language here to observe that this particular dishonesty is the defining characteristic of American free-speech zealots. These zealots care about a principle only and exactly to the extent that it supports their own assholery.

I think I'm a free-speech zealot, but I don't think I'm an ####### or dishonest about it. If there were a government mandate to change the Redskins name, I would be fighting against it. If there were a movement to criminalize the wearing of feathers or the tomahawk chop, I would oppose it.

Free speech includes the criticism of the speech of others, though.

Our freedom should acknowledge the right to do things that don't conform to social norms, or that offend other people. That said, everything that is permissible is not something that necessarily is right or reasonable to do. We should allow more (perhaps far more) than we condone. Otherwise, we're not really enjoying free speech.
   200. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 14, 2013 at 06:55 PM (#4572265)
Flip.
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