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Who dreams up these nicknames?
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Just in case you thought this whole Redskins name controversy was new, this is from the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star back in January -- January of 2003.
"Readers of the sports pages may notice a change in the newspaper's style beginning today: We have stopped using the nickname 'Redskins' to refer to the professional football team of the nation's capital. When we're reporting on that team, we'll call it Washington."
Native Americans aren't the only ones who think some team names should be changed. Lots of other groups would probably like to see some changes. The Angels, the Saints, the Wizards and the Devils might offend Christians and atheists alike; the Pistons, the Steelers and the Oilers may rankle the environmentalists; the Celtics and the Vikings are too eurocentric; the Hawks, the Diamondbacks and the Devil Rays don't mean much to city kids.
And some names are just plain silly. The Knickerbockers? Really? That's what you want to call yourselves?
Wouldn't it be better if sports teams were named after things we do now, professions we have now, not things we did hundreds of years ago? We need teams like the San Diego Dudes and the New York Gossips. The Detroit Forklift Operators or the Seattle Fishmongers. When the Washington Lobbyists sign a new pitcher to a three-year, $27 million contract, you'd never hear a real lobbyist complain that athletes are getting paid too much.
When the California Cosmetic Surgeons take on the Pittsburgh Solid Waste Managers at some future Super Bowl, who would be able to contain their excitement? Who would be able to say they don't care who wins? People who used to tune in just for the commercials and the halftime show would finally watch for the game.
If the Phoenix Retirees beat the Florida Pacemakers in a seven-game World Series, wouldn't that be a shocker?
Think how much more fun the sports pages would be with headlines that read, "Bank Tellers trash Psychologists 27-3!" or "Cincinnati Chiropractors whip Miami Mall-Walkers in 19-18 nailbiter."
There are people, of course, who think the Native Americans are being too sensitive about teams named the Indians, the Chiefs and the Redskins. Either way, why on Earth would you name a team from Washington, D.C. the Redskins instead of the Gridlocks or the Gasbags? There used to be a horrible professional team of perennial losers in Washington called the Senators.
Oh, wait, I forgot. There still is.
Contact Jim Mullen at