Peter King explains his 2016 Redskins name change prediction


(By John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

This would be an excellent item to skip if you are not interested in the Redskins name issue.

Last week, veteran NFL reporter Peter King wrote that he thought the Redskins would have a new name by 2016. That struck many observers — including this one — as a remarkably aggressive date, with the team showing absolutely zero inclination to even consider such a move, and with popular and corporate opinion solidly in the team’s corner.

Still, it’s understandable that some saw great portent in King’s nugget. Like Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio:

While King’s “I think” feature often has a wistful, speculative quality, he doesn’t throw dirt. He typically has heard something specific that makes him think what he thinks.

“I know things,” he’ll often say to me when we get together before a Sunday slate of games, with a twinkle in his eye that may or may not be attributable in whole or in part to caffeine.

Chances are that, in saying that the name will change by 2016, King has indeed been told something by someone in position to know the truth that the current plan is for the name to change by 2016.

Now, this is getting complicated, because even if King’s eyes had been set a-twinkling by someone in position to know the truth, he might continue to pretend that wasn’t the case, that the twinkle was all natural. Also, I suppose I am now professionally engaged in the business of analyzing Peter King’s every utterance. Cool job, Dan.

Anyhow, I thought a few people might be interested to know why King wrote what he wrote. I also think that many of you might not be interested. That second group still has a chance to stop reading now.

But for everyone interested, ESPN 980′s Chris Russell and WTOP’s George Wallace chatted with King about several Redskins topics last week; his name prediction was one of them.

“I think if you just look at the tea leaves and see what’s happened in the last 12 months, there’s been a groundswell,” King said. “The groundswell has gotten into the halls of Congress, not just on the sports pages of America and on the Internet. And I think that my big reason for saying this is that I don’t think the issue is going to go away.

“And I don’t know that you want to be using a really good smart general manager like Bruce Allen to be out front as often as he has been out front — writing letters — to talk about the nickname of your team,” King said. “You know, Jerry Reese with the New York Giants, Howie Roseman with the Philadelphia Eagles, they’re not fighting the national government about Giants and Eagles the way Bruce Allen is fighting in a lot of arenas here.”

“So I have no proof, I have no reason, I can just feel the momentum going,” King said. “I can feel the tea leaves being read in a lot of portions of our society. Maybe it’ll happen, maybe it won’t. It just feels like pretty soon the NFL is probably going to realize that we can get rid of a pretty big headache if we start calling them the Washington Veterans, or the Washington Americans, or the Washington Warriors, I don’t know what. Pick a name. It’s just a gut feeling. No proof. don’t have a little birdie on Park Avenue in New York whispering in my ear, ‘Hey, we’re going to get that name out of there.’ Nothing. It’s just a sense I have, reading the tea leaves.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · July 28