Dude’s Thoughts About Team Name Changes

Now that folks are on the cause of changing the name of the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL), other teams with Native American mascots are also under scrutiny for changing their names. I thought it would be fun to explore alternative names these teams could be called.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS (NFL)

First, we will start with the obvious one – the Washington Redskins. The franchise has been known as the Redskins since they changed their name from the Boston Braves in 1933. The have already been some suggestions for changing the NFL’s Washington D.C. franchise to one of the following:

  • Washington Warriors – If you remove references to Native Americans and replace it with our nation’s veterans, this would work.
  • Washington Football Club – Not a bad suggestion. Not sure what logo you would have with this one but you could keep the colors.
  • Washington Renegades – You could still keep the “R” from Redskins with this one.
  • Washington Americans – Kinda fitting and patriotic but you couldn’t keep the colors.
  • Washington Pigskins – This is a creative one since the offensive line is often referred to as the hogs.
  • Washington Redtails – You could keep the “Red” part of the name as well as the colors. Name refers to an airplane or bird.
  • Washington Redhawks – Many college teams have changed their “Redskins” name to this one.
  • Washington Griffins – Refers to a mythical creature but I’m not sure it fits.
  • Washington Federals – Comes from the former United States Football League (USFL) from the 80s. Could be a possiblity.
  • Washington Generals – This is my preference and would be fitting for a team from the nation’s capital.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (NFL)

Another NFL team in line for a name change would be the Kansas City Chiefs. It is said that the name came from former Kansas City mayor Harold Roe Bartle, a white man who founded a “fake Indian Boy Scout tribe” and adopted the nickname “Chief” as his own when the team moved from Dallas to Kansas City in 1963. Here are some name change suggestions:

  • Kansas City Stallions – This one rolls off the tongue pretty well but in a league with Colts and Broncos, I don’t think it would be a possibility.
  • Kansas City Mustangs – Another good one but a top choice.
  • Kansas City Renegades – Remove the reference to Native Americans and this one might work.
  • Kansas City Wranglers – I like this one. I think you could maybe keep the helmet logo with the arrowhead and the team colors.

CLEVELAND INDIANS (MLB)

Major League Baseball (MLB) has a few teams that might need a change starting with the Cleveland Indians.  The nickname “Indians” that was applied to the Cleveland Spiders baseball club during the time when Louis Sockalexis, a Native American, played in Cleveland (1897–99). Here are some alternate names:

  • Cleveland Spiders – This was the name of the team previously but I don’t see any Cleveland fans embracing it.
  • Cleveland Cobras – The name flows but it is a long way from the current name.
  • Cleveland Buckeyes – This is a popular suggestion but I don’t see it happening since you have Ohio State using the same name.

ATLANTA BRAVES (MLB)

Dare we say that the Atlanta Braves are in this line for a name change? A “Brave” is a Native American Warrior so it would seem so. James Gaffney bought the team in 1912, and adopted the nickname Braves for his new team after the Native American symbol used for his Tammany Hall political group Gaffney was associated with. The organization relocated to Milwaukee in 1953, and finally to Atlanta in 1966 but always retained the Braves name. Here are some ideas:

  • Atlanta Tomahawks – This would work but might still be a bit too close to a Native American reference.
  • Atlanta Thrashers – I really like this name for the team revived from the former National Hockey League’s franchise that played in Atlanta. It is the state bird and would fit along with other bird names in baseball.
  • Atlanta Firebirds – I kinda like this one but I’m not sure it would stick.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (NHL)

The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Chicago Blackhawks. They say they were named in honor of the U.S. 86th Infantry Division, which was nicknamed the Blackhawk Division” after Black Hawk, a Native American chief; the team’s founder, Frederic McLaughlin, having served in that division. Some ideas here:

  • Chicago Black Hawks – I would simply focus on the bird more than a Native American logo or reference.
  • Chicago Bruisers – This actually isn’t bad and really sounds like a hockey name.

Will these names be changed? I doubt it. These teams have been branded and there is a lot of money to be lost in merchandising. Every time this name issue comes up, it becomes an issue and eventually goes away until the next time it gets stirred up. They should still change these names but it would take some major pressure to get them done.