For a city obsessed with political correctness, Washington offends a lot of people with sports-franchise names. Native Americans have lobbied for years to change the name of the Redskins, which some consider a racial slur. Now Wizards owner Ted Leonsis finds himself in a similar thicket. After Leonsis acknowledged he was thinking of changing the basketball team’s name back to the Bullets, its moniker until 1997, sports blogs and radio call-in shows lit up.
The Washington Post published its opposition to the move in an editorial, arguing that late team owner Abe Pollin had dropped the Bullets name because “he believed it was repugnant to countenance—much less cheer—a team called the Bullets when the city was awash in the violence caused by guns.”
Leonsis has put off the decision for now, but he does plan to bring back the Bullets’ red-white-and-blue team colors.
Controversy, though, is likely to follow any name change. Here’s how the team logo—and the editorial attacks it could generate—might look if executives had chosen one of the other four finalists from the selection process that produced the Wizards name in 1997.
The Express. Speeding-related traffic accidents in the United States take 13,000 lives and cost more than $40 billion annually. The District, Maryland, and Virginia all have programs aimed at curbing aggressive driving, yet Leonsis—an Internet pioneer—continues to jam his high-speed agenda down the throats of impressionable sports fans. Get your head out of the sand, Ted. Put the brakes on the Express.
The Stallions. After the strides our society has made over the past half century to root out gender discrimination, it would be nice to think an elementary-school-age girl could cheer on her hometown basketball team without being force-fed an agenda of male domination. Ted, the name Stallions—or unneutered male horses—does nothing but instruct young female fans that they just aren’t welcome at the highest levels of competition.