After a Monumental Sports executive recently cast a major dose of cold water upon those diehard Wizards fans still hoping for a return to the ‘Bullets,’ I wrote a brief item on that news. In it, I pointed out that Abe Pollin’s widow Irene once casually indicated that she wouldn’t mind a switch, if the fans wanted it.
This led to a cordial e-mail from the Pollins’s son, Robert, who just wanted me to know that he would not support such a move, and that he’s made his position clear to Ted Leonsis. He gave me permission to publish this note here.
Pollin, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, recently wrote on the Spurs for The Nation.
Just seeing now your piece on the idea of changing the name of the Wizards back to the Bullets. I would like you to know my view on it, which I have expressed directly to Ted Leonsis on more than one occasion. That is, I am vehemently opposed to the name change. I think it would represent a major denigration of my father’s memory and legacy.
My father changed the name of the team to express as strongly as he could his feelings on gun violence. These were views he had held for a long time. But his thinking became crystallized after the assassination of his close friend, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel. Given that background, what possible consideration could override my father’s wishes, assuming the current Wizards’ ownership is committed to honoring his legacy?
But beyond my father, why would Ted and his co-owners want to do anything whatsoever that could possibly encourage gun violence in our society — making guns and bullets cool and acceptable? Do we really need more Sandy Hooks? I would much rather see Ted and company stay laser-focused on making the Wizards great. They are definitely on the right track.
Let’s not get distracted by things that won’t make one whit of difference in terms of making the Wizards a winner, but will make a big difference in terms of the team making a positive contribution to the community and broader society.