Washington NFL team hires propagandist Frank Luntz to help defend their name

For purposes of this piece the Washington NFL team shall be known as the Racist Slurs.

Salon’s Alex Pareen makes the point that when you have to hire Frank Luntz to help you defend your team’s name then you already know your position is indefensible and you need to just change it.

The Washington DC-area NFL franchise has commissioned veteran Republican pollster Frank Luntz to conduct some focus groups to see how American football fans feel about the franchise’s name, which is a vile racial slur.

…he is basically Fox News and the House Republicans’ message-crafter-in-residence. He renamed the estate tax “the death tax.” He told the GOP to refer to Democratic healthcare reform as “a Washington takeover” and financial reform as a “big bank bailout bill.”

I’m always amazed that the a team name like the Racist Slurs can exist. I’m more on the fence about names like the Chiefs, Braves and Indians which could be seen as honoring Native Americans (although the Cleveland logo (below) is ridiculous), but I don’t get to make that call. If the team names were the Heebs, the Kikes, the Good with Moneys or the Rabbis I’d probably see them all as anti-semitic. 

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The Cleveland Indian’s logo. Come on! How is that okay?

The Washington Racist Slur’s history is informative:

This Washington football team was named by one of the most vehement racists in the history of American professional sports. When George Marshall bought the team in 1932, they were called the Boston Braves. He changed the name — to a slur, because he was a racist — and moved them to Washington. He made “Dixie” one of the team’s fight songs and refused to hire black players well into the 1960s. The NFL integrated in 1946 but Marshall’s team held out until the federal government actually forced them to field black players in 1963. The all-white Washington teams of the 1950s and 1960s were among the worst in the league, but segregation was more important to Marshall than winning football games. The NFL had actually already been racially integrated until black players were suddenly banned in 1933. Interviews with owners suggest that Marshall was responsible for the ban.

It’s time to change it.  Really.