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Rebranding the Washington Redskins


borner1996

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On June 18, the United States Patent and Trademark Office moved to cancel the trademarks for the Washington Redskins, including the use of the name “Redskin.” This ruling was very important to the ongoing debate of whether to keep the Redskins name or toss it. To generalize, there are two polarizing opinions on the matter: That the name and logo are in no way racist or disparaging, or that the name and logo are a slur to the Native American community and need to be thrown away immediately. There are also a number of opinions in between, including mine.

I believe that the name “Redskins” is only racist when used in a racial context. The name by itself is not racist. It is only racist and disparaging when used alongside the Native American caricature that happens to be the Redskins primary logo. A few other professional sports teams use derogatory team names but do not have logos that make it derogatory. For example, MLB’s New York Yankees feature a name that was used by the British as a derogatory name for Americans, however the Yankees primary logo is just a “Yankees” word mark, and their only other logo is the famous blue “NY” emblem. The Vancouver Canucks of the NHL is a derogatory term for Canadians, however their logo is a whale. Why? I have no clue, but the point is that it’s not a Canadian, and that the New York Yankees logo isn't an American.

There has been no uproar about “Yankee” or “Canuck” because they are just words that describe the players on their respective rosters and do not disparage against groups of people. “Redskins” when not used with something resembling Native American culture (The Redskins also have a few other logos with headdress feathers) should not be considered racist because the word would only be used to describe the players on the Washington team, thus rendering “Redskins” neither racist nor disparaging.

That brings me to my solution to the Washington Redskins “identity crisis” if you will. I believe my solution satisfies both sides of the argument. My solution is pretty simple, really: Scrap every current Redskins logo that indicates Native Americans, and replace it with something different.

Now, many “something different” ideas have been thrown around. Complete name changes and rebrands have been brought up, but they don’t satisfy both sides of the Redskins name argument. To satisfy both sides, the Redskins need a logo set with no mention of Native Americans, and one that still keeps with the long, nearly-80-year Redskins tradition. (Only 5 NFL teams have been around longer).

The simple fix is this: Get rid of every Native American-esque Redskins logo, and replace the Native American head logo with the maroon and gold cursive “R” logo the Redskins used from 2004 to 2008 and still use on their merchandise from time to time. (The organization can make it look like a throwback rebrand, which has become popular lately in the NBA.)

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There are already a number of NFL teams that use only letter(s) as their primary logo, such as the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, and New York Giants.

The Redskins can also keep using their “REDSKINS” word mark, since it doesn’t mention Native Americans just by itself. Even better, the team could issue a statement saying that the term “Redskins” officially does not refer to Native Americans, but rather to the Washington players, whose uniforms, or “skins” if you will, have red in them.

redskins_wordmark.gif

The team can continue using their regular uniforms, just replacing the Native American head on the helmet with the aforementioned “R” logo.

Now, I know this may not satisfy everyone, but I believe it is the best of both worlds for both sides of the Redskins argument.

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I believe that the name “Redskins” is only racist when used in a racial context. The name by itself is not racist. It is only racist and disparaging when used alongside the Native American caricature that happens to be the Redskins primary logo. A few other professional sports teams use derogatory team names but do not have logos that make it derogatory. For example, MLB’s New York Yankees feature a name that was used by the British as a derogatory name for Americans, however the Yankees primary logo is just a “Yankees” word mark, and their only other logo is the famous blue “NY” emblem. The Vancouver Canucks of the NHL is a derogatory term for Canadians, however their logo is a whale. Why? I have no clue, but the point is that it’s not a Canadian, and that the New York Yankees logo isn't an American.

Um, no.

But even if we were to grant your premise, for argument's sake, simply removing the images only pretends that the team isn't named after Native Americans. It doesn't substantively change anything. You'd need to put forward an alternate mascot that would fit the name to give the re-brand even a paper-thin shred of plausibility.

Even still, no.

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i think they need a name change but goot idea. I just dont see it. Think about the era the bears packers and giants logos came from. They only make it work because of tradition. If you look at the newer teams you notice a few things.(im talking about ravens and texans) they use mascot logos and they usually are agressive. I would suggest a logo showing something related to dc

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They could issue a mascot thats a revolutionary war character in a red uniform I suppose. "Redskin" is just a word, and Washington's NA logos give it those connotations. As long as Redskin can be rebranded to reference something else, then I see no problem with the word

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As long as Redskin can be rebranded to reference something else, then I see no problem with the word

What would that be, though? Pretending that it now suddenly refers to a Revolutionary War soldier, or some such thing, is as transparent as it is laughable.

I don't see how we could possibly come up with a fig leaf to save the name.

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As long as Redskin can be rebranded to reference something else, then I see no problem with the word

What would that be, though? Pretending that it now suddenly refers to a Revolutionary War soldier, or some such thing, is as transparent as it is laughable.

I don't see how we could possibly come up with a fig leaf to save the name.

Yeah I think there is no way around it this time. Going with "Pigskins" is probably the only way to keep the 'Skins moniker.

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Does no one listen...

We're going to allow discussion on this topic as long as it's done in a respectful, personal-attack-free manner.

Those caught blatantly turning this thread to hell will be suspended and their comments deleted.

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Pigskins could work. A popular Redskins fan tradition is wearing pig noses. They could also rebrand with a red bird/hawk logo or something like University of Miami (Ohio) and keep "Redskin" or change to "RedHawk"

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As long as Redskin can be rebranded to reference something else, then I see no problem with the word

What would that be, though? Pretending that it now suddenly refers to a Revolutionary War soldier, or some such thing, is as transparent as it is laughable.

I don't see how we could possibly come up with a fig leaf to save the name.

Yeah I think there is no way around it this time. Going with "Pigskins" is probably the only way to keep the 'Skins moniker.

I think the "Washington Pigskins" would be a decent way to settle all the controversy. Gets the hog thing they have going in there, and they could still be called the 'Skins

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As long as Redskin can be rebranded to reference something else, then I see no problem with the word

What would that be, though? Pretending that it now suddenly refers to a Revolutionary War soldier, or some such thing, is as transparent as it is laughable.

I don't see how we could possibly come up with a fig leaf to save the name.

I see borner's point, this same method worked for the Syracuse Chiefs... however "redskin" might be a little too far, an unsalvageable level.

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There has been no uproar about “Yankee” or “Canuck” because they are just words that describe the players on their respective rosters and do not disparage against groups of people. “Redskins” when not used with something resembling Native American culture (The Redskins also have a few other logos with headdress feathers) should not be considered racist because the word would only be used to describe the players on the Washington team, thus rendering “Redskins” neither racist nor disparaging.

"Yankee" and "Canuck" also refer to nationalities, not ethnicities or races. A fine, but important distinction.

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There has been no uproar about “Yankee” or “Canuck” because they are just words that describe the players on their respective rosters and do not disparage against groups of people. “Redskins” when not used with something resembling Native American culture (The Redskins also have a few other logos with headdress feathers) should not be considered racist because the word would only be used to describe the players on the Washington team, thus rendering “Redskins” neither racist nor disparaging.

"Yankee" and "Canuck" also refer to nationalities, not ethnicities or races. A fine, but important distinction.

I'll also add that the Yankees were owned, named by, and play for Yankees... the Canucks too.

Would we be having this same debate if the Washington Redskins were owned/named by Native Americans and played their home games in a reservation? No chance.

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As long as Redskin can be rebranded to reference something else, then I see no problem with the word

What would that be, though? Pretending that it now suddenly refers to a Revolutionary War soldier, or some such thing, is as transparent as it is laughable.

I don't see how we could possibly come up with a fig leaf to save the name.

I see borner's point, this same method worked for the Syracuse Chiefs... however "redskin" might be a little too far, an unsalvageable level.

The Peoria Chiefs (Class A baseball) went from native imagery to a dalmatian with a fire hat (i.e., "fire chief"). But I don't know that you can just "pretend" that a "Red Skin" was a revolutionary war soldier, a guy that escorted President Jefferson to the US Capital building, or a White House Chef. The only thing I can think of is a potato. Maybe that would work in a minor league but it's not really NFL material.

As for the topic, I hope we can discuss it. It's "Obamanation" in topic, but it's also a rare "logo/uniform" topic of legitimate social importance so it really belongs on here.

As for "PigSkins", I don't love it but it does have an "old-timey" charm. Like "Athletics" or "Nets" (which I realize is not that old of a name). It's almost too bad they were not called that from the beginning. It would be the kind of name that people would like for tradition even though nobody would ever use it for a new team now. Ultimately, though, I don't like it...it (like the potato) idea seems to be too into trying to please everyone (i.e., that it keeps the 'Skins shorthand). Just tear the band-aid off completely.

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"Pigskins" is a little too hokey for me.

My vote is for The Washington Potomacs (which could represent the many tribes that lived along the Potomac river) so long as they get permission from the 500 or so remaining members of the Patawomeck tribe and other Native Americans.

Then you don't have to change the logo.

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They could issue a mascot thats a revolutionary war character in a red uniform I suppose. "Redskin" is just a word, and Washington's NA logos give it those connotations. As long as Redskin can be rebranded to reference something else, then I see no problem with the word

Ummm...sees as the British soldiers were the ones wearing red, I suggest that would be an...inadvisable...approach.

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They could scrap the Native American logos, throwback to the cursive R, and change the name to just the "Reds" even though Cincy has that in MLB

That's essentially what Syracuse did...the downside here being that orange is "Cuse's color and red is not Washington's.

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They could scrap the Native American logos, throwback to the cursive R, and change the name to just the "Reds" even though Cincy has that in MLB

I strongly suspect that is also a non-starter, although not because Cincy uses it, but because of political reasons.

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