Around And Around And Around…

Things go in cycles. Night follows day; then day follows night. There is a progression of the seasons. The stock market goes up and the stock market goes down. Nature gives us the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle and the water cycle. In women’s fashion, hemlines go up and then they go down. The Bible tells us:

“What has been will be again. What has been done will be done again.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

There are cycles all around us; and here in the Washington DC area, a very specific and local cycle – the Outrage Cycle – is building. Every few years, people in this area find a reason to take offense at the name of the Washington NFL team and call for action to change that name. I have lived in the Washington area for a little over 40 years; the current upswing in calls to get rid of the name Washington Redskins is not new, contains no new lines of argumentation and is as likely to succeed as any of the past dozen or so upswings did.

I do not mean to endorse the use of a team name that is offensive to many people. I am simply tired of all the impotent hand wringing evidenced by letter writers to the Washington Post and by columnists in the Washington Post. Other than the adrenaline rush one gets when seeing one’s words take such a noble stand in a publication, those writings change nothing. They belong in a category of their own that I would label “Blatherreha”.

The owner of the Washington Redskins and the National Football League, which issues him the franchise to own this team, have made the following situation crystal clear:

    As long as the NFL team housed in Washington continues to bring in revenues in the top 10% of all NFL teams, there is no reason to change the name of the NFL team housed in Washington. Ka-beesh?

As much as the local hand-wringing writers might want to frame this issue as a moral one, it boils down to an economic one. Until and unless there is sufficient agita generated in the fanbase of the Washington Redskins to motivate those folks to stop spending any money on anything associated with the Washington Redskins, then the name is likely going to stay the way it is and the “Outrage Cycle” currently building will crest, go on the wane and then rise again in a couple of years.

No one who has read these rants for a while could possibly take the label “Daniel Snyder Apologist” and try to affix it to me. Nonetheless, in this particular matter, the two sides of this issue are clearly distinguished:

    A segment of the populace – and people who get their words published in the Washington Post – find the name “Redskins” offensive and want it changed immediately

    Daniel Snyder looks at the team accounting and sees that his team generates higher levels of revenue than at least 30 other NFL teams every year. He has no motivation to change what is obviously working very well for him.

Ergo, the path leading to an end that will satisfy the folks riding the “Outrage Cycle” is simple and obvious. They need not try to convince Daniel Snyder – or the NFL – that the name “Redskins” is horribly offensive; they need to hit Daniel Snyder in the wallet. They need to convince enough of the Redskins’ fans to stop buying anything with a Redskins logo on it – perhaps to include tickets to games. Make that happen for about 2 seasons and a name change could actually happen. Until then, things go in cycles and we are now in an upswing on the “Outrage Cycle”. Cue Macbeth, Act V, Scene 5:

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

There is another cycle that will begin next week, a far more pleasant one which is far more likely to achieve its end than the “Outrage Cycle” discussed above. Next week, pitchers and catchers will report to Florida and Arizona to start baseball’s Spring Training. Meaning not the slightest bit of disrespect to Punxsutawney Phil, my personal indication that Spring is right around the corner is the day that pitchers and catchers report to camp.

Within the larger cycle of a baseball season, a mini-cycle takes place within Spring Training. There is the cycle of repetitive, feelgood and generally irrelevant stories that come out of baseball training camps such as:

    Joe Flabeetz reported to camp 15 pounds heavier this year; he says the added strength will serve him well in August/September when the pennant races are at full boil.

    Sam Glotz reported to camp 10 pounds lighter this year to decrease the wear and tear on his body over the long season. Remember, it is a marathon and not a sprint.

    Every player over the age of 32 in every training camp will report to camp this year “in the best shape of his life”.

    Every manager in every training camp will be seeking that elusive “perfect blend” of youth and experienced leadership.

    Every unsigned free agent with Scott Boras representing him will have strong interest from teams that Boras cannot or will not name.

In addition, the following story – simultaneously relevant and not very pleasant – will emerge just as the teams break camp and head to wherever they need to be to start the regular season:

    The Houston Astros are already eliminated from the playoffs.

Finally, here is a gem from Brad Rock in the Deseret News:

“José Canseco has once again torpedoed himself on Twitter. Recently, he tweeted out to nearly a half-million followers; ‘I need to find Manute Bol.’

“Bol died nearly three years ago.

“How come the only thing Canseco seems clued in on is who used steroids?”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Jim Davison  On February 7, 2013 at 11:52 am

    So, Jack – I propose several new name options for the Redskins…

    1) The Dilettantes
    2) The Landover Loons
    3) Snarky Snyder Sniffs Glue
    4) Griffen’s Grifters
    5) The Drunken Indians
    6) Jack Kent Cooke Would Roll Over In His Grave(or Mausoleum)
    7) I Blame Nancy Pelosi
    8) Why is Everyone Always Picking on Me
    or my fav…
    9) The Washington Wookies – possible tie in with Disney now that they own all the George Lucas properties…maybe a theme park, stuff like that…man, I’m gonna TM that idea…

    I realize some of these break the 1-2 name NFL/AFL requirements, but, whose rules are those anyway?

    PS – Canseco is a total TOOL…

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm


      The Washington Dilettantes? Not exactly a team name designed to instil fear in an opponent…

      I prefer to look at Jose Canseco as “the gift that keeps on giving”; at least five times a year, he does something sufficiently silly/outrageous that he gives me something to write about. On the other hand, herpes is also “the gift that keeps on giving”. Hmmm…

  • Al  On February 8, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I really think that the people pushing to change the Washington team name actually might have success by arguing FOR the change on economic grounds. Teams often change their logos, uniform colors, etc. to drive new merchandise sales to people that already bought the old, now “obsolete” colored/logoed merchandise. I think you could make the case to Danny-boy that changing the name along with a logo change would make him MORE money by selling the usual yearly quota of stuff, PLUS a ton of “replacement” stuff as well.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm


      Welcome aboard.

      Danny Boy might indeed see an upswing in sales of “logo material” with a name change. However, the danger here is “messing with the brand”. Like it or not, the Redskins’ brand is hugely successful – even when the team itself is not even slightly successful. Messing with the brand is not always a good idea; two words that would haunt someone thinking about doing that would be: “New … Coke“.

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