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.
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.
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.
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!)