First, a confession. When the Washington Pigskins started defending their racist name by blaming it on high school kids, I thought for sure that that would be the worst defense of the name ever. In fact, though, that dubious distinction belongs to Fairfax resident and Washington Post letter writer Charles H. Cunningham, whose argument in favor of keeping the Pigskins name is that other football teams, too, have names.
“This hypersensitive crowd is always looking for some reason to be offended,” writes Cunningham (whose letter was highlighted by Jim Romenesko). “No one names a sports team after something to be disliked, and that is the case with these other professional teams: Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, Golden State Warriors and Chicago Blackhawks.”
Notably, none of these names are racial slurs. But there’s more (emphasis added):
There are many NFL team names that may offend thin-skinned and hypersensitive people: Do atheists hate the Saints? Do socialists despise the Patriots? Are short people (sorry, “vertically challenged”) offended by the Giants and Titans? Do environmental activists dislike Chargers, Jets and Steelers? And surely animal-rights extremists cannot appreciate the Bears, Bengals, Broncos, Cardinals, Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Jaguars, Lions, Panthers, Rams, Ravens and Seahawks.
If you think that’s bad, you should’ve seen what didn’t make Cunningham’s cut:
- “Are copper miners offended by the Steelers?”
- “Are pescaterians offended by the Packers?”
- “Are biplanes offended by the Jets?”
If this is the best proponents of keeping the name can come up with, it’s even more so time for a change.
Graphic by Carey Jordan