The Pigskins Shame Spiral is an occasional feature tracking developments related to the name of D.C.’s beloved football team.
Who: Champ Bailey, a former star cornerback of the Washington football team.
Change the name? Yes.
Why? Bailey told USA Today that the name is a slur against Native Americans equivalent to calling a black person the N-word. “If they feel that way, then it’s not right. They are part of this country. It’s degrading to a certain race. Does it make sense to have the name?” he said. “I don’t know where the name came from or how it came about, but the bottom line is that it’s still here in this day and age, and it makes no sense to have it…I love that organization, but when it starts peeling off old scabs and people are pitching a fit about it because it’s degrading to them, then you’ve got to make a change.”
Bailey went onto say that team owner Dan Snyder is just making the situation worse by not changing the name.
Shame Spiral rating: SMDH. Bailey is one of the most high-profile football players to come out against the name and, on top of that, is a figure that Pigskins’ fans may actually listen to. He wore the team’s jersey for the first five seasons of his career and has a connection to the franchise and its fanbase. He may not have the pockets or power to get Snyder to listen (to be fair, not even the president of the United States has enough power for that), but he could help to rally some fans who are still hanging onto the team name for the sake of tradition.
Illustration by Jandos Rothstein