1. Soooooooooo...any hot topics in Redskin Nation these days? I have been pummeled the last week with media requests to talk about the name change. Most of you have spent similar amounts of time getting asked about it by friends, family members and work colleagues. Contrary to what some of you have concluded, I am not leading the charge to change the name of this team. Far from it. My ideal outcome always has involved the continued use of the current team name, and Hogs Haven is not going to be a place where we discontinue using the word "Redskins." I did italicize a recommendation for Dan Snyder to change the name last week, and there is no retreating from it, but now that some of the more confrontational rhetoric has been exchanged, I was hoping we could spend a few minutes looking at some possible scenarios. Hopefully, a little cooling down since Thursday will help folks understand I am not part of the PC police--I just don't want to live through potentially a decade or more of this crap. Since some of you will see that I am talking about the name and tune me out, I'll give you my italicized point up front today: it doesn't matter what we think--the other NFL owners will drive this decision and will, at some point--I believe--force a name change. To me, this is an inevitability. To me, this is not about caving or bending--it is just the way it is going to go down. I am not pulling for this to happen. I am not rooting for us to lose that part of all of us that we treasure.
2. Major media outlets have already begun to refrain from saying or writing "Redskins" and prominent NFL personalities are entrenched in their anti-Redskin position. This we all know. This we are all sick about. We don't agree with them and we certainly believe in our hearts they are wrong. Still, as the ones doing the covering of both the league and our team for widely-viewed outlets around the nation (and world), they hold at least some sway with the general populace. The point here is that wherever we are right now, public opinion is likely to continue swinging against the name, as more and more people who probably don't really care form their thoughts based on what the aforementioned folks say and write. Based on some of the things people post on our site, as well as other places, I don't get the impression that bowing to public sentiment ranks very high. Fair enough. The part about the people who probably don't really care is an important one. Outside of Washington, D.C., this issue is not as big as we think it is. That said, the average NFL fan reads Peter King, who is way against the name. The average NFL fan watches NBC, where news anchors and respected voices like Bob Costas have joined the opposition to the name. Don't waste your time in the comments section talking shit about Costas and King. We all know what the average Redskins fan thinks about their stances. As for the hearts and minds of people who otherwise don't give a crap? We are losing those people. This is where the real fun of the argument begins.
3. Notice how at no point so far--and at no point after this--am I bringing up the plight of the Native American or the issue of racism. That was never going to be the impetus for change here. Far be it for me to quash valuable debate, but that is why I refuse to enter the fray on that topic these days. I know what I think (and no, Bill, my opinions are not formed as a result of being "worn down") and what I think is that this decision, like everything else in 2014 that is associated with billions of dollars, will come down to dollar signs. All those people who "probably don't care" are at the heart of the dollars and cents here. They are consumers. They buy things. As it turns out, what people spend their money on in this country outranks whether or not someone is being subjected to offensive terminology. Perhaps those worlds overlap more than meets the eye, but at the end of the day, entities like the NFL follow the money. I am not suggesting this is some great thing, but it is what I believe the truth to be.
4. God forbid the Redskins are good this year. God forbid they garner national attention with their play on the field. What do you think will be the more dominant story if that happens? Let's just do a simple pie chart in our heads of what gets covered, and how much of the coverage goes where. Even if highlights of Robert Griffin III are so blisteringly amazing that they demand to be played on endless loops, do you really expect that we will be allowed to forget this name issue? Do we really expect to see that topic get LESS than half of that pie chart? Our on-field success will be used to help bring more attention to this issue. Any national prominence we earn by playing well will shine a light that will be used to galvanize folks against the name even more. Not us, mind you--the masses. The mob. It has already started. The NFL Network might be the only place where we can all watch coverage of our team without having to hear about this issue, because they will muzzle the hell out of their talking heads. So far, most of us are probably thinking, "So what? Who cares what a bunch of people think who probably don't care anyway? Who cares what people on TV talk about? Who cares how much air time the name gets?" I'll tell you who is going to start caring: other NFL owners. They depend on those masses to market their products to and they sell the mob to their sponsors. It will only take one or two major sponsors to openly discuss or consider their partnership with the NFL for the tide to start changing in the billionaire's club that is "The League."
5. While I don't pretend to know any NFL owners personally, I am given to understand that Dan Snyder has not made a friend out of every one of them. There must be one or two that are enjoying watching Snyder dig his hole. But when that hole starts to have their names on it, too, because the NFL is a singular brand, they will mobilize. Owners playing host to the Redskins during the season are going to see more and more attention to the name issue, and will become more and more tuned in to how their own fans view the issue (the aforementioned masses). Prominent owners of perennial contenders will grow tired of seeing this topic trump the play of their own teams. Constituencies inside each team's fanbase will begin to lobby harder for their owner to "do something." As Dan Snyder drags his legal appeals fight out over what could be YEARS, pressure will mount on the other teams in the league. While Snyder might be able to take the heat indefinitely, those owners who already have a finite amount of patience for him will simply get to their boiling point. They will drop the hammer on the name--not a potentially wronged minority. The NFL owners will determine that it is no longer in their best interests to leave the Redskins name alone. Hell, you could argue that they kicked Tim Tebow out of the league because they were tired of him being a "story." Every player and team employee was asked about Tebow. Opposing players were peppered with questions about Tebow. His sideshow wore out its welcome. I struggle to think of why else he is not someone's second- or third-string quarterback (even if you hate him, most fans around the league would have to rate him higher than their own third-stringer). How do you think owners and front offices will handle our name issue when it comes to their town?
6. The reason why I said that people who work for Dan Snyder should be advising him to change the name now is because we--the royal "We"--are staring down the barrel of an incredibly negative period of time. Everything good about our team in 2014 and beyond will be put through the prism of the name issue (and no, not by Hogs Haven). Snyder should have someone in his ear telling him that he still has a chance to duck a decade or more of litigious, terrible times. We are already beyond weary of this topic, but I promise you that the national population is not--maybe they will get there and this will go away again like it did the last time. I just don't see that happening. The good news for all of you out there who are excited about fighting this fight is that Dan Snyder is not one to care a great deal about public sentiment. Even if Hogs Haven never did another article about this topic--which I am sorry to say is not the world we live in--we would find ourselves split on it at the bars, around the water coolers and in the parking lot at FedEx. We will be constantly reminded of it. We will be made to feel like we are responsible for it. We will be prevented from focusing solely on the amazing season the Redskins are about to have. In short, this thing ain't going anywhere. The Redskins should AT LEAST have a Plan B in the works.
Maybe I am wrong--I hope I am. Sadly, I think I am right. Instead of considering a name change as a retreat, we might consider the words of Chesty Puller, and decide to simply fight in a new direction. In the meantime, let me say this as loudly and proudly as this font will grant me, and as long as we still have the honor of doing so:
HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!!