Hey, Dan! Have We Got Some Names for You!

By John Kelly
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My recent suggestion that it's time to change the name of the Washington Redskins prompted much reader mail, including this anonymous message:

"Guy, I can't believe you are [as] clueless as you seem. [Team owner Dan] Snyder would lose millions and millions of dollars if he changed the name. I'd cancel my club seats immediately and I've written the team to tell them that. There are many more like me. Plus, polls have shown that Native Americans overwhelmingly favor the name. The lawsuit was filed by a tiny group of activist wackos. Finally, we all know The Post hates Snyder and has a coordinated effort amongst its writers to beat on the name issue."

Ah, so you're the guy who bought club seats. Paid full price, did ya? As for The Post's "coordinated effort," I've worked here for 20 years, and we have a tough enough time coordinating a bake sale, let alone a conspiracy.

Other readers offered more constructive suggestions:

"How about the Landover Feathers?" wrote a reader named Steve. "Folks (at least Virginia-based ones) aren't happy with either the stadium's location or the team's performance. The name hits on both issues (sample headline: 'Feathers Plucked Again By Giants') and also would remind us of our Braves/Redskins heritage."

Gaithersburg's Dave Rotter, "an old fan," suggested the name "Pigskins." His reasoning: "The football is made from pig skins. The team can still be referred to as the 'Skins.' "

Barry Aikin of Shady Side had a similar thought: Just shorten the name to "the Skins." Wrote Barry: "The logo would be a variety of colors representing all peoples and the words to 'Hail to the Redskins' could easily be modified."

Whenever the inappropriateness of the team's name is mentioned, someone always suggests changing the logo to a redskin potato (get it?). The joke has grown thin from repetition, but Ray from Leesburg has a twist: "Instead of changing their name, they could change their logo to the potato: whipped."

Bill Schmickle of Annapolis wonders whether Dan Snyder should cut a deal with Hasbro, manufacturer of Mr. Potato Head. "He could keep the name 'Redskins,' use a modified profile in the logo to make us laugh rather than cry, and convey a 'put-a-fork-in-it-you're-done' spirit that perfectly represents the 2009-10 team on the field."

Vienna's Tracy Leverton says that in his house they refer to the Washington football team as "the Snyderskins": "When people refer to the Redskins as 'our team' -- as in 'Our team lost yesterday' -- we correct them and say, 'You mean Dan Snyder's team.' "

I like that suggestion, but how about renaming them in honor of Vinny Cerrato, the team's executive vice president of football operations: the "Vinnyskins" -- or, better yet, the "Washington Vinnies"?

Len Ault of Mechanicsville says "the Washington Braves" offers several advantages: "1. It was their original name. 2. It is a name that truly honors the American Indian, more than 'Redskins' does. 3. Dan Snyder would not have to change the team's logo, a very positive aspect given today's economy, don't you think?"

Speaking of old names, Jim Newman of Luray, Va., thinks "the Washington Senators" has a nice ring to it. It would be "a tribute to an earlier losing Washington team," he writes. Plus it would honor "that august legislative body, with its inflated egos, overblown promises, petty bickering and long-term indecision about anything that really matters."

On a more positive note, Rockville's Jim Hill suggests "the Washington Americans." Writes Jim: "Washington, D.C., is a representation of America and the capital so it would seem appropriate!"

Finally, Annapolis's Clare Heflin is partial to the "Washington Spirits." The word has many definitions, Clare points out, each of which seems appropriate:

Spirit: the nonphysical part of a person. "Surely Washington has shown that it is a demonstrably nonphysical team in its pressure on opposing quarterbacks and receivers," writes Clare.

Spirit: a supernatural being. "What Portis and Moss have to be to carry this motley crew, including ownership and management."

Spirit: an apparition after death. "Washington fits that description after Sunday's loss."

Spirit: strong distilled liquor. "What most of us will need to get through this NFL season."

On Sunday, Washington plays Kansas City. The 0-5 Chiefs are looking for their first win. Drink up.

My e-mail: kellyj@washpost.com

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