Based on reader feedback, most D.C. sports fans are opposed to a Redskins name change, and most D.C. sports fans would support a Wizards name change.
Many of that latter group would prefer a return to the “Bullets” name, to match the franchise’s return to Bullets colors and iconography. And they were encouraged when Abe Pollin’s widow Irene said she wouldn’t mind. Via Michael Lee:
“If the fans want to change it back — hey, why not?” Irene Pollin said. “To me, it’s what do the fans want? What’s going to please them? To me, they’re the ones who support, care.”
Ted Leonsis has never suggested that might happen, but he also has never insisted that it won’t.
“We have taken it under advisement,” he told WTOP in February. “We’ve done a lot of research on that issue. You know, it’s a major re-design, and it honestly does take about two years if you were to change the name. And so what we elected to do in the short term was to change the look and the feel – which we did last season – of the uniforms and of our design, and go back to that red, white and blue. And I think for the time being, that’s all we’ll do. But yeah, I mean, I’m open to that. Many fans have suggested it. And I’ve just felt that it’s like a cheap thrill, to change the name back. You’ll get half of the people that would say, Yes! I’m so happy that you did that, but it would also activate another 50 percent of the fan base to say, How could you do that? Mr. Pollin and the family changed the name for all of the right reasons. And so with all that’s going on with the team, I thought it best just to kind of calm the waters and do nothing, and just focus on trying to rebuild the team and make the team a high-performing team.”
In other words, that’s a punt.
This week, though, came something far more definitive — maybe a game-ending field goal — via my pal John Ourand at SportsBusiness Daily:
A top Wizards exec said the franchise would “probably not” be renamed the Bullets. “There are certain instances in the last few years with certain players that I think are going to prevent that,” said Monumental Sports & Entertainment Senior VP & CMO Joe Dupriest.
Dupriest went on to tell Ourand: “I don’t see us changing the name to the Bullets,” which is the strongest thing I can remember a team executive saying on this topic.
And if Gilbert Arenas’s legacy in this town is really to make that a permanent impossibility, well, it won’t help his legacy, anyhow.