As you might have heard, there’s some controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins’ nickname.
Most believe it will change eventually, Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder’s insistence that it won’t ever change aside, but in the meantime many fans, journalists and publications have declared that as long as the name stays, they simply will not use it.
Now, it looks like the Philadelphia Eagles have become the first NFL team to adopt such an approach. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk fame noticed that the name is, in great part, gone from the Eagles website:
“The Philadelphia Eagles, who travel to FedEx Field on Sunday, have referred to the Week Four opponent only as ‘Washington,’ in various places. As noted by Matt Lombardo of 97.5 The Fanatic in Philly (and picked up by TheBigLead.com), the weekly media guide refers to the contest as ‘Philadelphia vs. Washington’ when past weekly media guides this season have used team names. A scroll through the Eagles’ Twitter page shows no uses of the R-word, but has an invitation to fans for “Eagles vs. Washington” this weekend. A similar reference to ‘Eagles vs. Washington’ appears at the team’s Facebook page.
“Portions of the Eagles’ website make reference to the Washington name, including the NFL.com-generated season schedule and this week’s injury report. Still, only “Washington” appears elsewhere in the site, including in an item regarding film study of the team’s most recent game against the Giants.”
If the sparse usage of the nickname on its site was by design, as it sure seems to be, the Eagles are the first NFL team to take such a stand. As Florio points out, this is a potentially huge step for those who want the team name gone. The name has had many critics, even powerful critics, but until now the criticism has come from, not only outside the Redskins organization, but outside the NFL.
If a fellow NFL franchise, one that’s been in the same division as Washington since 1967 and are acutely aware of their history as a team declares that they won’t use the name, the position that its one born of honor and heritage, and not a slur, becomes still less tenable.