The whole Washington Redskins name controversy is baffling. Forget for a moment the debate about whether “redskins” is offensive (although I’m not sure how you could even try to make an argument while using the word). Forget the whole bit about political correctness run amok, and people being overly sensitive. While that’s true in many cases, it’s not in this circumstance.
What baffles me on this is why this Washington NFL organization, and owner Dan Snyder, refuse to change the name. Why such resistance? What is there to gain from this position?
There have been many historical instances where racism is the result of economics, where people look the other way on moral issues to earn some money, such as owning some slaves. In this case, the racism is detrimental to the economics. This Washington NFL team is losing money with their silly name.
They would be better off with almost any name. Even as much as a joke as it is to hear the name Pelicans, it’s still far better than Redskins. Why would the ownership want to limit any potential new fans by having a team associated with any kind of negativity? When someone is choosing a new sports team to follow, they will consider such things as team name and logo at the same time as they look at the teams’ stars.
Beyond this, how many fans will they lose by changing their name? Zero. Any loyal fan will still support their team under a new name. They will show this support by purchasing new merchandise. And the best way to get them to purchase new merchandise is by changing the team name and logo.
This is an opportunity for this Washington NFL team to make a whole lot more money. I don’t know how much more, but I know it’s definitely a lot more. They have the perfect excuse to go ahead and do it, an excuse that will cause only a few to grumble, and a whole lot more to celebrate.
To resist this change so much, to sacrifice an opportunity to make more money, makes me think that there is something deeper here.