WRITTEN & CONTRIBUTED BY STEPHEN HILL
Ok, Here’s the truth. When Sybil asked me to write on this subject for the newsletter, I was at first reluctant as only half of the process is complete. In a romantic comedy the movie doesn’t end when the couple breaks apart; we must learn how they get back together. The alleged perpetrator’s arrest is not the end of their journey. They gotta have the (hopefully) fair trial. When flying, I’m glad to know that I’ve left my departure city, but it’d be beneficial to know where I’m going. And since I’m usually in a middle seat in coach, it’d be great to know how long it’ll take to get there.
I’m anxious to know what the Washington’s Football Club’s new name is going to be…but in this case, the news of that destination borders on irrelevant (well, unless they go with the Washington White Crackers…which I doubt). That the appellation won’t be the one they’ve disgracefully had for over 80 years is what soothes the soul.
Franchise founder George Preston Marshall sucked and the team was the last to have a Black player on the roster (shout out to the late, great Hall of Famer, Bobby Mitchell)
Dan Snyder sucks and in 2013 said “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER—you can use caps”.
The franchise sucks. I mean, yeah, just sucks.
The announcement that committed to the name change indicates a desire to suck a little less.
As soon as I knew well enough what that represented to our Native American citizens, I began the process of actively reviling and rejecting the disgusting, insulting, racist name that I’d been accustomed to all my life. I long ago got rid of all paraphernalia (jerseys, hats, mugs, keychains, toilet seats, etc.) embossed with the name. The question I asked myself was simple: How would I feel about a team being called the Nashville Niggers?
I’d called them the mouthful that is “The Washington Football Club” for over 10 years…until 2 years ago when my Faithful Ward suggested calling them the “Washkins”. Much easier. I could harp on how horrible it is that this change has taken SO/TOO long; it is, but I shan’t. We’re here to make the best we can of what’s present today.
And as I am perfectly comfortable listening to Kanye’s brilliant musical works yet strongly abhorring his political views and moves, I’ve been comfortable loving the team and hating the name.
For my entire life, I’ve been obsessed with The Washington Football Club. Mom went to games while pregnant with me. Memories are smile-inducing of my father taking my brother and me to games at RFK Stadium and somehow getting all 3 of us in on one ticket. Each of us on a knee, those cold winter days were my earliest experiences of male bonding. I was at the Rose Bowl for the franchise’s first Super Bowl Victory. The following year, we took what would be our last family trip as a foursome to Tampa so that my brother could see them in their next Super Bowl appearance. Mom, my brother and I all went on the field after the teams last match at RFK Stadium. A few years ago, I went to every game; home and away. For the better part of this century, I was able to attend many games with my mother and trading high fives after each score meant more to me than many other events in my awesome life. Many of my family’s defining, close and shared moments were, have been and are around the burgundy and gold.
It brings me great pleasure that the pressure never relented and that I will finally be able to fully put in my mouth the name of the team that to me is not even mostly about football. Hail to that which I forever associate with the togetherness of our family and memorable times shared.
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