Over the past couple months, I've thought a great deal about the Daniel Snyder's Washington Redskins name change dilemma. Admittedly, from his perspective --- this is a TOUGH one.
Here's what we know. Snyder is obstinate. He won't change the name. The deceased body of Charlton Heston is more likely to relinquish the grip of a gun from his cold dead hands. Snyder's probably of the mindset that if he caves, his "adoring" fans would never forgive him. He'd come to be viewed as the next big traitor of the NFL (a la Art Modell). As most people with a billion net worth, he's likely grown so accustomed to people kissing his ass that he has a ridiculously inflated view of his position in the world. I seriously doubt most Redskins fans give a damn about his existence (beyond the media exposure, major personnel decisions and win/loss record). Nonetheless, his reputation is worth more than say some old lady stocking up on dollar store circus peanuts.
Personally, I can see where he's coming from. The Redskins moniker is steeped in tradition. Monetarily speaking, you just don't want to tinker with the name. That's a recipe for marketing gruel. Hell, the name could be worth hundreds of millions. The Redskins currently rank #3 on the NFL franchise net worth list. #1 is the Cowboys and #2 are the Patriots. Stillers come in at #14. I would have placed the Skins in the top 10, but I didn't know they were third. That stadium's an uninspired, cavernous dump. I say move 'em back to RFK. Great Dead show 2nd set in 1991 (Help > Slip > Franklin's > Estimated > Dark Star > Drumz > Stella > Lovelight. * Baby Blue). And no... I didn't look up the set list.
One of the more interesting suggestions I've heard is to change the logo to a potato. Not a joke. In the short term, you're made a mockery of. Not ideal for his ego, but it's not the worst idea I've ever heard. Maybe sculpt the redskin potato to look a tad menacing. Perhaps shift the stadium naming rights from FedEx to McDonald's. Hey, who the fuck doesn't like McDonald's fries? Maybe have free large fry game day giveaways. The downside --- you'd be nicknamed the spuds. And if your season is a dud? Well, let's just say that Chris Berman and every mindless broadcaster would have a field day with that brand of unforgiving alliteration.
Don't totally dismiss this angle. The kids at Scottsdale Community College were given the opportunity to choose the name for their intramural athletic mascot. Purely as a joke, someone threw "The Fighting Artichokes" into the mix. Guess what? The students voted and it won.
I'm sure there's a Rockville, MD art student with holes in his ear lobes the size of frisbees. Maybe he could design the new potato helmet logo. Perhaps start a subliminal "End the Famine" campaign --- a tasteless reference to their Superbowl drought. The last time they won the big one was the 1991 season. Things could be worse I suppose. You could be a Cowboys fan.
Of course, the other choice would be the Washington Hogs (referring to their offensive linemen of the late 80's). Not much appeal to the women-folk or general health and fitness craze. But it is a great slap in the face to the DC pork-bellied politicians. As a non-kosher, bacon loving, non-visiting West Banking individual, I could get behind this.
The absolute worst thing you could do is choose an Indian fallback name (Washington Warriors). You either go big or go home. Although I do like the idea of the DC Scalpers. Most people don't know this but my Indian nickname is "Scalping Jew." I was bestowed this honorable title by Merl out the CRRC (Crick Ranch Recreational Compound). With the impending return of Ken D. from Australia coinciding with the resurgence of legendary folk band Clan Boone, I might dust off my other nickname as well (band manager Reuben Boone). Upon reflection, I'll just stick with Scalping Jew. Two reasons --- historical accuracy and an utter disdain for Thousand Island dressing. Anybody who's anybody knows that when I order a reuben it comes WITHOUT a drenching of regurgitated liquid vomit. I prefer a side of hot mustard or Frank's Red Hot.
Back to the Daniel Snyder quandary. As I've maintained, he seems beholden to the Redskins name and the logo. So the obvious suggestion is to create a distraction (the Palin debate strategy --- MEMORIZE, DEFLECT and PIVOT). However, this usually involves spurious accusations or conjuring up something negative. And it's doubtful that Snyder would wish to speak ill of the NFL or cast aspersions upon his fellow owners. That dog won't hunt, especially with the good 'ol boys club.
Speaking of "good," this whole thing's a nightmare for commissioner Goodell as well. His only option is to cowardly inform the public how the entire Redskins matter falls outside the scope of his authority. It's not "within his jurisdiction." What bold leadership! How brave. If Sacajawea were still alive, she would have sucked his authentically circumcised/merchandised dick. Goodell is good. Good at punishing people for smoking a doobie. Jerk.
So conventional wisdom says, how about engaging in philanthropic behavior? Surely an act of fiscal benevolence will make everyone forget about this whole mess. Where did this lead Dan Snyder's publicist and his ego management bozos? Well perhaps in most imbecilic direction you can fathom.
I've got it! Let's randomly pick some native American Indian tribe and build them a "skate park." This endearing roller derby-like commitment will never be forgotten. The reservations will shower us with affection. Smart thinking! Because whenever I hear racist terminology, I immediately think of the obvious remedy. Let's build a skate park for their weirdo faction youth gone wild. You know --- the ones with the pierced noses, neck tattoos and gaping ear lobe holes. Let's bury the hatchet. We smoke 'em peace pipe.
Even more absurd, it was for the Quechan (Kwatsan) tribe based in Yuma, Arizona. East Coast >>> West coast, bitches! How ludicrous would it have been if he unearthed some unknown tribe from the DC beltway. Maybe the Alexandria Apaches or the Chevy Chase Choppers. I dunno, McLean Mohicans. That's a pretty ritzy suburb. Call me crazy, but why do I think Snyder resides in McLean? Just call it a hunch.
Needless to say, the Kwatsan tribe rejected Snyder's most generous offer. He should have built them an on sight methadone and alcohol rehabilitation clinic. Betty Ford, eat your heart out.
Obviously (and fortunately), I don't live in the head of Dan Snyder. I can't read his thoughts. But common sense tells me he won't change the name. However, that is HIS choice. He owns the team. He's likely disinterested in Native American sensibilities, so it would be very unwise for him to suddenly feign concern. Unless he has an exceptional public relations team, he'd probably come off looking like a pompous, out-of-touch phony.
Considering his stature, Snyder probably thinks he can defy the current wave of political correctness. Newsflash: the pc onslaught is here to stay. It will ebb and flow, but it's never going to magically dissipate. Do I think that someday the name will change? Yep. But while he owns the team. Nope. He probably thinks it will irreparably tarnish his "legacy." And what a proud legacy it is. I have a gazillion dollars so I bought something. Impressive.
So Saf, enough blathering. What's your solution to the Dan Snyder Redskins mess?
As you might have guessed, it involves the stampedes. But hear me out. LISTEN!
Snyder needs to fight back. But it's imperative that he substantially alter the conversation. PIVOT!
Normally, I'm anti-Friends humor... but that was pretty funny.
Alright, here's what we know. Snyder is in a uniquely powerful position. He owns a team that represents the nation's capitol. And he can do whatever the fuck he wants in "his" stadium. That means he can legally start telling people that "if they're in a large, confined crowd and receive an emergency evacuation order and/or panic inducing information from their cell phone, it's almost certainly a hoax designed to create an artificially generated stampede." He can spill the beans. Be the first one to tell people the most basic, common sense, public safety information that the U.S. government and the NFL are unwilling to acknowledge. LEGITIMATE evac orders come from the public address system in tandem w/ the jumbotron. There you go. How hard is that? More difficult than you'd think.
But he can take this superior moral position. And the other teams would be forced to follow. This instantly places him ABOVE every NFL owner. He'd be in a category unto himself. Even better, this makes Snyder an agent of CHANGE. He could be the Bob Barker "have your pets spayed or neutered" representative for the artificially generated stampede. He can write this information on his tickets, put it in the programs, have people recite it outside the venue and run PSA announcements on the jumbotron. There's nothing anyone could do to stop him.
Why is this so brilliant? Because if any self-righteous politician (Hillary, Obama, etc.) starts to weigh in and tell him that he should change the name, they know they might come face-to-face with the undiscussable stampede issue (which is a lose-lose proposition from a political perspective unless you were totally committed and the original source for exposing this civil rights issue). High profile politicians wouldn't dare even mention the name "Snyder" or "Redskins" because they'd fear potential discussion of the unresolved stampede issue. The plausible deniability aspect is a death sentence. Just ask our very own U.S. Senator Joe Manchin. He screwed up even worse --- he put it in writing (not once, but twice). If you decide to acknowledge the issue, you go "all in." Once again, go big or go home.
Plus, as an NFL owner, one could argue that Snyder has the ethical responsibility to bring the problem to the forefront. This buys him the TIME he desires and would easily overshadow the accusations of racism. That's a tall order in this day and age. More important, it ALTERS the narrative. Snyder shifts from alleged bigot to enlightened humanitarian. From promoter of resentment, to forward thinking agent of change. Not the hopey-changey kind either. This is the big leagues. We're talkin' generational warfare. Yep, bigger than the NFL! He probably didn't know that was possible. Of course, him and the Jerry Jones-ilk view "size" strictly in terms of seating capacity. Shallow minds, limited vision. They only see the dollar $igns.
Breaking news: I just saw that Snyder has started a foundation to address the real-world needs of about 40 different Indian tribes. Apparently, he was "moved" by the fact that we slaughtered them in droves. That's a helluva learning curve there Danny Boy! Way to go.
Money can always buy you time. But it's not always the solution.
A message to Snyder and his minions --- if by chance, any of you read this, gimme a ring and we'll figure out the specifics. My consulting cost is cheap. A one time fee of 3.6 million bucks. Why 3.6? I have no idea. It's the first number that popped into my head as I write this. Considering the magnitude of the dilemma, that's peanuts. Or you can greedily steal my methodology and apply it haphazardly. But you probably won't get it right. It's too high stakes. Either way, let's do this. I'll be calling your director of security and stadium operations in the next week or so. I'll try to address the real issue of obsolete stadium emergency evacuation protocol. Not the relatively benign issue of political posturing and hurt feelings.