Criticism of the Pigskins’ other name has been unusually intense over the past few days, with traditional critics of the moniker using a recent symposium on sports team names to write new columns about the Landover, Md.-based franchise. This afternoon, the Pigskins appeared to answer the critique with an article that boils down to “high school kids are doing it, too.”
Citing the popularity of something among teenagers, of course, isn’t a typical strategy for justifying the behavior of professional football franchises worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But that doesn’t stop the Pigskins from passing the buck to 15-year-olds. From the team’s website:
“We are very proud of our athletic teams and very proud to be called [racist name of Washington football team]!”
These are the words of Coshocton High School athletic director George Hemming, who serves as the athletic director for just one of the 70 different High Schools in 25 states are known as the [racist name of Washington football team].
[Racist name of Washington football team].com found that there are almost as many schools using the name [racist name of Washington football team] as Cowboys, as only 75 schools use the name Cowboys, and interestingly just 19 use the name Giants.
The unnamed Pigskins writer is bumping up against the point here, yet totally missing it: Professional sports team names inspire high school sports team names. That the Washington Pigskins’ name is inspiring other teams to pick up a slur looks like just another argument for changing the name.
Graphic by Carey Jordan.