The Pigskins Shame Spiral is an occasional feature tracking developments related to the name of D.C.’s beloved football team.
Who: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Change the name? No, simply change the meaning of the name.
Why? As the controversy surrounding the Washington football team’s racist name began to pick up steam earlier this year, owner Dan Snyder vowed never to change the team’s name. PETA is suggesting a compromise you may have heard before: Keep the team’s name, but change the logo to a potato, rendering the word a playful nickname for a vegetable.
Shame Spiral rating: Finger Wag. If we are to take this suggestion with the seriousness with which it’s intended, it’s worth pointing out its logical failings. First, Washington isn’t really a potato town—-neither in its dietary habits nor in its agriculture. Second, if the team keeps its name, people will likely still associate the name with team’s current mascot—-which together are racist—-and having a potato in its place could be read as making fun of the whole situation. And third, if Snyder is to ever change the name, he will need to have a somewhat economically viable plan in place to do so. For better or worse, no one is going to take a football team with potatoes on its jerseys seriously.
If we are to judge this as a publicity stunt, then PETA still only did a questionable job. Yes, it’s arguably a cute play on words, but the animal rights group didn’t actually take a stand on the matter and didn’t acknowledge that the team name, is by definition, a racist slur. Weak potato.
Illustration by Jandos Rothstein