Washington should be renamed 'Warriors,' to honor the military

Washington Warriors could be a new brand that honor our military
Photo credit Phil Briggs
By Connecting Vets

Being from Maryland I grew up loving summers at the beach, blue crabs and The Washington Redskins.

I played football from elementary through high school, tried to emulate my hero John Riggins and watched while screaming and yelling every time my team won a Superbowl. (Or in more recent years, failed to make the playoffs.)

Now, in my fourth decade as a fan, I watch the team’s decision to retire the “Redskins” name being met with a variety of reactions.  Some complain about changing a proud tradition and others feel rewarded because a major sports franchise is finally giving up on a name they feel is racist.

So in this year of riots, protests and a killer virus, I think it would be pretty cool if Dan Snyder took the opportunity to rebrand Washington with something that unifies us.  

Honoring wolves and hawks has been thrown around, but frankly, I’ve never seen a wolf in DC (except elected officials) and the league already has enough animals -- Eagles, Seahawks, Bears, Lions, Falcons, Bengals, Cardinals, Ravens, Rams, and the always fierce sounding Dolphins. (Sorry Miami. Now go put on a mask.)

But as I looked through some old pictures on Facebook, I found myself looking at the memories not just as a fan, but also as a veteran.  Having attended a few of the NFL’s “Salute To Service” games, I remembered how fun it was to see my fellow vets.  Sometimes it was catching up with someone who was stationed in the same place, and other times it was the hilarious ballbusting that both rival service and rival sports fans enjoy.

ConnectingVets Reporter Phil Briggs shares memories from Washington Redskins football games

This salute to military service seems to be captured with the Warrior concept I've seen shared recently.  But some are still trying to connect it to Native Americans which can look good on paper but I’m pretty sure that any Native American today is quite satisfied cheering for the Kansas City Chiefs. (After all, they’re the freakin’ Superbowl Champs.)

But honoring our military is also something that can be done every Sunday without being cliché.  It doesn’t always need to be built around a promotion with flags, jet flyovers and on-field family reunions. 

Washington Redskins could salute military with the name Warriors
It could just be a team with camo colors and crossed cannons that remind how we fought to win our freedom.  (Back when we were all just England’s bitch.) It could be subdued emblems from every branch etched into the uniforms. Dedications to some of the greatest military units in history could be done with flags, patches and other subtle nods without being cheesy or over the top. Gold stars on the jersey could give a constant salute to the ones we love and lost. Tributes to eras like Korea and Vietnam could be reflected in color, design and camo pattern variations in alternate uniforms. (Why not? In college sports, don’t schools like Oregon and Maryland wear a different uniform every week?)  
Army camo uniforms looked tough

And speaking of college sports, camo has been used with great success.  What about those killer uniforms worn by Army’s Black Knights?  Texas Christian University may claim it’s the scales of the Horned Frog on their uniforms, but it looks a hell of a lot like digital camo.

TCU and Oregon both have worn camo style uniforms

As Washington searches for a brand that says something less offensive, they have a real opportunity to score with the name Warriors.  Rather than cling to the past, they should look forward with a military-inspired identity that has proven throughout history (And since the first day we fought for our freedom) that American warriors kick some serious ass.

(And hopefully, they win another Superbowl before I die ... please!)


Phil Briggs can be heard each week on ConnectingVets.com hosting CBS Eye on Veterans and @philbriggsVet