Photograph by Brian Murphy
Team names are a touchy subject in and around Washington. One name in particular is offensive to our sensibilities. It’s also kind of embarrassing. And then there are the Redskins.
The controversy over the Redskins moniker is nothing new, and many fans have never really come to terms with the loss of the Bullets. Earlier this week, Ted Leonsis put a damper on hopes that the Wizards could get a new name. Despite the owner’s protests, I still believe that a name change is in store at some point in the future. The same goes for the Redskins. While they have been successful in the courts and in the polls, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before we see a couple of new names in town.
People have kicked around a new name for Washington’s football and basketball teams for years. Let’s take a look at some of the popular choices in case the time comes for a change.
This was a presumptive favorite when Dan Snyder was locked in a court battle a few years back. Not only is it alliterative and in keeping with the general theme of the team’s current name, it’s also drawn the interest of the team itself. At one point Snyder’s company Washington Football Inc. held a trademark on the Washington Warriors name (View the screenshot of the application here). It doesn’t appear to be active, which is probably for the best. The Warriors name is boring, derivative, and a bit too easy.
If it were up to Tony Kornheiser, the team would have a potato on their helmet and his old column space at the Post would run blank twice a week in his memory. Calling them the Red Skins, or slightly more realistically, the Skins would be cheating.
Back in the ’90s, an indoor soccer team by this name played its home games at US Air Arena. They folded in 1997 just as the Redskins moved into the neighborhood. Warthogs may be ugly, but so was the offensive line in the ’80s. And probably every year since then.
It’s only natural for Wizards fans to think about new (and old) names for the franchise. The team recently ditched the color scheme that coincided with the renaming of ’97. The Wizards name has never been embraced, so why not make the change? Let’s take a look at some of the options, just in case.
Throwback logos are all well and good, but don’t expect to go back in time. It’s probably time to give up on that dream. Besides, it’s a Baltimore name.
The Express was one of the woeful finalists back when the Wizards name was originally selected. It’s the only one I include on this list because the others are so bad. Sea Dogs bad. Most important, nothing about DC could be rightly called “express.” We’re the city of WMATA and PEPCO, not to mention the Beltway.
Legendary soccer player Johan Cruyff spent the 1980 season with the Washington Diplomats of the NASL. The team folded shortly thereafter, and the name has remained tragically unclaimed ever since. The Dips, as everyone will call them, will usher in a new era of basketball in Washington and make everyone forget about Cam’ron forever. You know, if Leonsis changes his mind.