The Problem with Washington Choosing Warriors as Its New Name
If multiple reports are true, the Washington NFL franchise has settled on a new name and it could be announced in the next 48 hours.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo! was first to report an advanced timeline.
John Keim of ESPN had a different description but essentially the same message on Saturday night and dropped this bit of information that I haven't seen before now.
Keim mentioned the name "Warriors" as a one-time choice for a potential Arena Football League team that Dan Snyder wanted to bring to the area. Warriors has been a favorite all along and Snyder once trademarked the term.
It's highly doubtful that Keim just threw that information in without having some sort of insight as to the new name.
If it is indeed Warriors, it's hard to argue with how it sounds and what it could look like. This is probably why the process has been accelerated.
The Golden State Warriors are one of the most popular NBA teams and brands because of their recent run of success.
The name is obviously not unique but clearly is eligible for selection. The NFL and fans/media love word alliteration.
The problem? There are a few. Some fans do not like the name because it's already in use. They want a unique name. Okay. Whatever.
What fans really should be thinking about is this: Because you would be changing from the current name, which is defined as a racial slur (no matter how you view it), and potentially would be going to Warriors—which also has sometimes had negative connotations when used in the past.
Remember when Marquette University changed their name in 1994 from the Marquette Warriors to the Marquette Golden Eagles, because "the Warriors nickname that was considered offensive to American Indians," according to an Associated Press report in the Gadsden Times from May 4, 1994.
When the decision was made, the report in the Gadsden Times said that the school "used a 'Willie Wampum' cartoon caricature of an Indian warrior before that mascot was dropped as offensive."
They described a school logo leading up to the change as a "silhouette drawing of an Indian warrior."
Gabrielle Grant, who at that time was the President of the American Indian Student Association told the paper that non-Indian students not finding the name offensive were out of touch.
"I'd say that they could never know because they're not American Indian."
Grant said at the time that she had not bought Warriors apparel in her four years at Marquette.
According to an online dictionary, the term Warrior is defined a:
1. a soldier, especially in the past
2. someone involved in a fight or argument
The word warrior comes from the Old North French word ‘werreier’ meaning ‘a soldier’. It first appeared in English in the 14th century.
OK, so here's the deal.
Many are going to say the term is completely fine. If it doesn't affect the NBA team with the name, then why should it affect an NFL team? So what if Marquette move on from it?
Because Marquette's association with "Warriors" was racist, which, regardless of what Washington says its intentions are for adopting it, the connection is clearly there. It would be ignorant for the organization to risk offending the same group of people with its new name as it had with its old one.
Is it possible that the NFL and Dan Snyder are forgetting about the Warriors moniker issue because it was 25 or so years ago? Are they just willing to overlook it?
If they do, you know it would be brought up and create the same controversy it just said it was addressing, only this time after already attempting to fix the problem.
And then they'd be forced to change the name again.
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Chris Russell is the Publisher of this site, a part of SI.com. He can be heard on 106.7 The FAN in the Washington D.C. area and world-wide on Radio.com. Chris also hosts the "Locked on Redskins" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at russellmania09@Gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621