I agree with Gerald Pressman (Cheap Seats, “The R Word,” 4/27) that the name Redskins constitutes an ethnic slur. But changing an institution that identifies Washington and brings its diverse citizens together is not easy.
I have a proposal to satisfy both sides: Keep the name Redskins, but change the mascot to the red-skinned potato. This allows us to continue the tradition but eliminates the ethnic association. And the proposal has other virtues as well.
First, if we want to celebrate the deep “roots” that the football team has in our local community, what better symbol could there be than this large and popular vegetable?
Second, it perfectly complements previous nicknames for the team. Just as we had the Hogs making way for John Riggins, we could have the Spuds setting up a defensive line that will mash opposing quarterbacks and rushers. And does anything go better with pork sausage than home fries?
Third, switching symbols expands the merchandising opportunities for Mr. Snyder and the team. Imagine all the new potato-logo caps, sweatshirts, and jackets that the team’s fans will need to stay up-to-date.
Fourth, instead of being besieged by advocates for Native American rights, the Redskins could enlist them into the ranks of the team’s supporters. According to the National Potato Promotion Board, the Incas first cultivated the potato more than two thousand years ago.
So, with all of these advantages, let’s do it. Sliced or diced, broiled or boiled, “Hail to the Redskins.”
(Oh, I almost forgot the last advantage: If the owners and players find it a little uncomfortable to be thought of as vegetables, perhaps they’ll understand what Pressman is complaining about.)
Silver Spring, Md.