For years, every D.C. United press release (and that’s a massive sample group) has ended with the following plea from management:

When speaking of the organization, please refer to the team as either “D.C. United” or “United,” but not “the D.C. United” or “the United.”

It always reminds me of the Brian Regan routine about the girl who gets pissy when she’s called care-oh-LIN instead of care-oh-LINE. But I figured the request was aimed at George Michael, who along with being the city’s sportscaster of record during his decades at WRC-TV was also a serial malapropist. And among his many manglings was his constantly calling the local soccer team “the United.” But Michael’s been off the air for months now, yet the team’s media pleading persists. Spokesperson Doug Hicks confirms team officials were very aware of Michael as a serial violator of the “the United” rule, but says that the name-calling issue still exists in the post-George era, though “mostly with out-of-town journalists.”

He’s right.

And so the begging continues.