Friday’s edition of PFT Live included a question from a caller who focused on an interesting subplot to the ongoing debate regarding the name of the NFL franchise headquartered in Washington.
If the name of the team changes, would the logo remain acceptable?
The logo and the name have at times been lumped together by the opposition. And while reasonable minds may indeed differ on whether the name is a slur, it would be difficult to make the argument that the logo (if paired with an appropriate name) would be offensive.
As currently constituted, the logo features the largely realistic profile of a Native American with feathers in his hair and a ponytail. It’s not a caricature or a cartoon, like the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo. And if the profile of a Native American represents an acceptable logo for the Chicago Blackhawks, why isn’t the profile of a Native American an acceptable logo for the Washington NFL franchise?
The Blackhawks’ logo doesn’t have the ponytail, but it does have war paint. It’s also a bit cartoonish, featuring a bemused Mona Lisa-style smirk. All things considered, the Chicago logo seems to be a bit closer to the line (wherever the line is) than the Washington logo.
So maybe a name change wouldn’t really change much for the Washington franchise. Sure, the name on the front of the jersey at the neckline would have to change, but the logo and the colors could remain — if the new name refers to Native Americans in a way that reasonable minds would not regard as a slur.
Of course, some could reasonably argue that it’s not as big of a deal to change the logo as it is to change the name, especially since over the years the team has used as its helmet logo a spear and the letter “R” in a circle. But changing the name and not the logo could be the kind of compromise that would allow both sides to feel better about the ultimate outcome.