On the one hand, any item having to do with the Redskins nickname is stale and overdone and repetitive and makes readers hate me and lessens my chances of getting random people to buy me cheap domestic drafts in area watering holes.
On the other hand, I write a blog about Washington-area sports. And it seems notable to me when the mayor of Washington, D.C., is evidently refusing to speak the name of the local NFL franchise.
“Speaking of symbols, our experience over the past football and baseball seasons symbolizes just how well things are going in the District of Columbia,” Gray said Tuesday night during his State of the District address. “Over the past year, both our baseball and football teams had breakthrough seasons – and have become great examples of teams coming into their own. Both teams showed sustained excellence and brilliance that got them to postseason play – for the first time in franchise history for the Nationals, and for the first time in what seemed like an eternity for our Washington football team.”
Sure, maybe that was an accident, the whole “our football team” thing. But when Gray names the Nats by name, and does not name the Redskins — just a few weeks after he said the team’s name “has become a lightning rod,” and that “there needs to be a dispassionate discussion about this, and do the right thing,” well, I think you can put the pieces together.
And since there are relatively few cities represented by pro sports teams whose mayors refuse to speak their names, this seemed worthy of noting.
Gray, of course, is not the only person to take this approach. Let me quote from a recent Dave Kindred column at Sports On Earth:
Did you see what my colleague, Gwen Knapp, did the other day? She wrote a column about Mike Shanahan and Washington’s sudden rise in the NFL. Not once did she use the team’s nickname and the column made great good sense, anyway. When I asked if she’d done that before, Knapp said she’d never made a crusade out of it because she didn’t really have much to say.
“The word ‘ick’ doesn’t make for much of a column,” she said. It’s just that she dislikes that nickname more than Chiefs and Braves. “It’s gross,” she said.
And now, commence bashing me over the head.
(Via @MikeDeBonis, who tells me the mayor actually said “our Washington football team,” although the pre-printed text of his speech just said “our football team.”)