City Desk

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What's in a Team Name?

For years, the Kansas City Star has had an editorial policy against using the nickname for the NFL team that plays its games in Landover, Md. This weekend, the paper's public editor took on some reader complaints about it. "I remain unconvinced by every argument I've ever heard that the name is not a racial epithet, plain and simple," public editor Derek Donovan wrote. "I find it inconceivable that the NFL still allows such a patently offensive name and mascot to represent the league in 2012."

We at Washington City Paper agree that the nickname ought to go. Yes, we realize opinion is split among Native Americans over the issue. But we have a hard time imagining a world where a modern pro sports team called itself, say, the Washington Kikes (to choose an example that picks on my own heritage), even if some Jewish fans didn't mind. Still, the solution the Star has found seems less than perfect—they drop the nickname altogether and just refer to the team as "Washington." Sports teams have names; we just wish this team had a different one. Besides, referring to "Washington" winning or losing might leave readers wondering which Washington team we mean—the Nationals? The Wizards? The Caps? And sadly, there are quite a few District residents who root for a different team altogether.

So instead, we're holding a contest to pick a new City Paper-approved nickname for the local NFL crew. Submit a new nickname below, and our designers Jandos Rothstein and Carey Jordan will come up with new burgundy-and-gold logos for the ones we like best. Once we've settled on a new name, we'll use it in City Paper in lieu of the old one, and everyone will know who we mean—because it'll be the name you helped pick.

Of course, we've had our differences recently with team owner Dan Snyder, so we don't necessarily expect him to follow our lead.

We'll pick some favorites and let you vote on the new name after we've narrowed it down a bit.

Illustration by Carey Jordan
Correction: Due to a reporting error, this post initially misidentified the Kansas City Star's public editor. His name is Derek Donovan. Ad Astrum is the name of his blog.

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