Let’s be clear before we start: the only way the Washington Redskins, NFL team and holder of one of the most consistently “hot-button” squad names in American sports, are going to undergo a moniker transfusion is if owner Dan Snyder is forcibly dragged into the street and paraded in front of a hostile majority that are unwilling to buy anything with the phrase or image ‘Redskin’ on it. That probably won’t happen, so Snyder probably won’t have to change his team’s name. FedEx and Budwieser could also pull their sponsorship dollars, but in an industry that makes their own money like the NFL, this seems unlikely. He could also have a change of heart, but that too, seems distant.
Why bother, then? It’s very easy to envision a future where the Redskins don’t have their name, and they aren’t regularly summoned to be a point of contention for people to treat politics like team sports by arguing about them. Whether or not the Redskins should change their name is largely irrelevant, since the arguments for one side are painfully tone deaf and the arguments on the other side are seriously lacking in empathy.
The Washington Redskins, as an organization, probably want to be able to set about reclaiming what was a mostly underwhelming team last year, with a quarterback that looked like damaged goods in RGIII and the prevailing wisdom that they might have overperformed to reach their 9-7 record from 2015. One easy way to do that would be, of course, to just change the name rather than bunkering down — to push the metaphor they chose — like they’re in the Alamo.