- Calls for Washington to change franchise nickname arise again
- Owner Dan Snyder refused to change the nickname in 2013
- Is it worth betting on a franchise name-change before 2021?
It’s fair to say the National Football League has at least taken major strides to get onto the right side of the conversation during a month of social uprising around Black Lives Matter, police brutality, and systemic racism.
We’re soon about to find out how far they’re really willing to go.
One of their flagship franchises, Washington, has used a team nickname that’s flat out racist and disrespectful to Indigenous people for years. Amidst the protests and calls for change at every level, there is a renewed effort to get owner Dan Snyder to do the right thing and rename the franchise.
Judging by the betting odds, though, it’s a long shot.
Odds Washington Changes Team Name from Red****s
Odds from June 23. Prop specifies that name must be changed by Jan. 1, 2021.
As companies rebrand longstanding products depicting racist stereotypes and statues of men known as slave owners come tumbling off their blocks, should you be tilting your wager to the “yes” at +1200? Let’s explore your betting options.
Snyder Refused to Budge Before
The owner made headlines in 2013 when the first major groundswell for changing the Red****s moniker arose. His response was definite: “We’ll never change the name,” Snyder told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s that simple. NEVER – you can use caps.”
Land O Lakes removed the Native American women it used to sell butter since 1928.
Quaker Oats is doing away with Aunt Jemima a brand and caricature used since 1889.
— Brian O'Neill (@NYC__Native) June 18, 2020
There are bad professional sports owners, but perhaps no one is as brutal for their work both on and off the field as Dan Snyder. Since purchasing the franchise 20 years ago, his team has made two paltry playoff appearances.
He’s cut cheques for a bevy of questionable free agents while refusing to pay Kirk Cousins, losing a legitimate NFL starting QB for nothing.
— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) June 18, 2020
Recently, the organization came under fire for mishandling a lump on the head of lineman Trent Brown in the middle of the season, then refusing to release or trade him until this summer.
Stability is absent in DC: they have shuffled through 10 head coaches and two interim coaches over Snyder’s tenure.
Maybe that’s why a once-proud franchise is perpetually in struggle mode — seriously, Washington’s 2020 win total is under six, again — and out of any sort of competitive conversation in an up-for-grabs NFC East.
Perhaps Washington Won’t Have a Choice in 2020
A lot has changed since Snyder’s stance-speech seven years ago, and much of it happened over the last four weeks. In Washington, the memorial of former owner George Preston Marshall was removed from RFK Stadium (the former home of the franchise).
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton calls on (Washington football team owner) Dan Snyder, NFL, Comish. Goodell to "recognize this historic moment and change the offensive, racist name of the team" pic.twitter.com/XQvw35nuyH
— Chris Cioffi (@ReporterCioffi) June 22, 2020
Marshall was a verified racist, and on top of hand-picking the current team nickname, he pushed NFL owners to ban black players from 1934 to 1946. He was also an original pick into the Pro Football Hall of Fame when it opened in 1963. Go figure.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 20, 2020
Snyder was also called out by the Washington Post in an editorial Friday. The headline read: “Change the name of the Washington NFL team. Now,” and the article encouraged the NFL to step in if Snyder refused to change the team name this time around.
What’s the Best Bet?
At some point, the Washington franchise will have to change its team name.
If not by Snyder, there are other avenues that could force his hand. One would be a majority of owners ousting him, something similar to how Donald Sterling was pushed out as owner of the LA Clippers in the NBA.
— Prentice Penny (@The_A_Prentice) June 19, 2020
The other could be if advertisers decide they don’t want to associate themselves with this particular franchise. Without that financial support, perhaps the league has to pull Washington from any prime time games, essentially leaving them to local TV market purgatory.
Snyder has been an exceptionally terrible owner, but a pivot in this instance could ultimately change how he has been perceived, even if the franchise were to never make the playoffs again.
But even as statues tumble, brands get renamed, and celebrities and stores get cancelled in this exceptional moment, expecting the NFL and Snyder to make the right call before we hit 2021 is overly optimistic.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.