On Taking a Stand and Redskins Fandom

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Boone

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I get it.

I really do.

It's what bonds us together here. We're 'Redskins' fans. Chances are, our fandom of this team started long, long ago. It may be tied up in our family memories, a legacy of our bond with our father, brother, uncle, or close friends. If we're lucky, our love for the B&G was cemented during the glory days when playoff heroics, dominance, and Super Bowl triumphs were real and life-altering. If we're a little less long in the tooth, we've earned our die hard status by sticking with a team through an unprecedented run of futility, disappointment, and an endless stream of coaches, front office staff, and QBs.

Either way - we've all earned the description. We're Washington Redskins fans.

And now, everything seems on the verge of change. Not just of change. Of 'undoing', of 'undermining', of 'erasure'.

They aren't just 'changing the name' and wiping out a legacy and history most of us have committed significant amounts of time, energy, and passion on - they're doing it while implying, and in some cases outright proclaiming, we've been racist supporters of a derogatory, disrespectful moniker all these years.

It's a bitter pill to swallow.

I have lots of feelings about it all. Anger. Disappointment. Disgust. Fatigue. Dread. I can still call my team 'Redskins' and no one can stop me from doing so. But in a few short weeks or months, they will no longer BE the 'Redskins'. They'll be something else. And that is no little thing. Some will argue 'it's just a name'. But most of us know better. It's not 'just a name'. And being forced to change it is not without its implications, none of which are flattering to lifelong fans of this franchise, more commonly called 'my friends'.

The first instinct of every Redskins fan is obvious. The last great act of defiance, flipping off one's attacker and then walking away forever. That might very well be the most natural and perhaps most satisfying response of all. Those that are imposing the ridiculous change we are witnessing certainly deserve it. But the problem with that response, as I have gradually come to realize, is that walking away over a name change accomplishes nothing positive, for them, or for us. Those that heap scorn on us as backwards, racist fans are not hurt one iota by our departure from Redskins fandom. In fact, if anything, they might relish the idea, because as we now understand, it's not just the name that's been racist all of these years. Driving we racist fans screaming from the NFL would bring nothing but joy and satisfaction to those who've engineered this particular social 'justice'.

Why satisfy them?

We all know that decades of experience, emotion, love, pain, and commitment are tied up in our fandom. Like a man's chest of drawers, we can't start tugging on one item without 4 or 5 other items coming with it. Change the name? It impacts everything we feel, cherish, love, and even hate about our team.

But it's important to remember. The name is not 'our team'. The name is a name. Our team is lead by a 2nd year QB, a new coaching staff, and a bunch of young, promising talent. Our team is on the upswing, conceivably on the verge of something, if not great, at least promising. These players are mostly new to our 'Redskins'. Most don't have a lifetime of baggage associated with the team name. But they do represent Washington, D.C. and the DC-MD-VA area with pride and commitment. They want to win, for themselves, their coaches, and for us.

Are we really going to abandon them now - for reasons not a one of them is responsible for? And if so, to what end? To 'prove a point'? To 'punish' those responsible? To make a 'statement'?

I don't think I can do that.

It won't be easy. The anger and irritation and just the plain weirdness of it all isn't going away, at least not any time soon. But ultimately a 'fan' isn't just a celebrator of things past, or guardian of tradition, or passionate advocate of a franchise's history. The most critical aspect of being a fan is supporting the players carrying our banner and cheering them on to ultimate glory. It's about that struggle every Sunday, and being a part of that challenge for better or worse. No matter what. Will vanquishing Dallas, knocking them out of a playoff run in Week 17, or prevailing over them in post-season play be any less sweet under a different name? I wonder...

I choose to be a part. I can't tell you what to do, and never would presume to. But I think it's important to consider, if you walk away, what if anything will it accomplish, other than robbing you of the opportunity to continue to be a Washington Redskins fan - if not in name, in spirit?

And that's all I have to say about that.
 

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Canadian Hog

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Great piece, Boone. I enjoyed reading and respect your opinion on the topic.

I suppose those living within the DMV area have something to hold on to at the end of the day. Yes, we are Redskins fans, but many of you are locals as well. In some regards, you are supporting the local team as much as you are supporting the Redskins every Sunday.

For people like myself with zero ties to the DC area, I'm having a hard time coming to grips with all of this. I shed real tears several days ago in front of my wife when we all found out that the name change is very likely happening. I described it to her as being the equivalent to living in a city that has their franchise ripped away from them and relocated. I don't have a local team. If we become the Redwolves, Redtails, what have you, it's forced fandom to a point.

While I'm sure the DMV is great, I've got no connection to it.

I grew up a Redskins fan, not a Washington fan.
 

Boone

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You have a connection to everything about this team OTHER than the name. It's the same team you rooted for last season brother. I really think that's the way to look at it. Other than the name, no Redskins team has anything to do with past generations of players, coaches, and their history. It's an illusion in some ways. Only the fanbase is a constant. Everything else is transient. I didn't fully 'get' that until I covered the team up close for a few years. The vast majority of players aren't connected to the franchise and all it represents the way we are and only when they've accomplished great things as a team does that really happen (as with players from the Super Bowl era).

I do understand how you're feeling as we are all feeling it (and maybe it is more pronounced for those not in or previously from the DMV). But when you really think about it, literally the only change coming is what we call these guys. For me, that's not enough to walk away.
 

Chris

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As well reasoned and eloquent argument, John, as usual.

Some years ago the University of Maryland, my university, made a decision to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference for the greener 💵 pastures of the Big Ten. I was a HUGE Terrapin basketball fan, all the way back to Tom McMillian, Len Elmore, John Lucas, Len Bias, etc. Since that move I have never since watched even one of their games.

I can easily do it again without a second thought.

I am disgusted with what our country is becoming and with the prevailing opinions of so many that I have little to no respect for.

This change, if being honest, is probably more of of an indictment of my fanhood than anything. I’ve been close to the edge for several years now, so perhaps this matter is nothing more than a final push to pull the ripcord.
 

Sarge

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God Bless you for hanging on Boone. But as I said in another thread, no matter how this turns out, when all the dust settle, dan snyder will probably still be here
 

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I understand where you are coming from. I am not sure how long it will take me to get there. If I can even get there.

For one it is the way and today's climate that is forcing this change. For me it is a tough pill to swallow.

I love everyone here and consider you family. For me losing "Redskins" is like a death in the family. I have cheered and cried over the Redskins for 50 plus years. I just can't give up on my Redskins that easily.

May be I will get there. Maybe I won't.

Regardless y'all are friends and family.
 

Boone

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Don't know about that. But I know this place and my football team are a big part of my life - whatever they are called. That, and I can still hear the words of my dearly departed mother 'Don't cut off your nose to spite your face'. They only one who would suffer if I walked away would be me.
 

MikefromOH

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seriously, the name redwolves would make me scream.

someone said "we can call our linebackers 'wolf blitzers' when they rush the QB" Really?!

I am about 99% out barring something my son or wife say, but if I was to stay, Warriors and the military looking head with the WWI style helmet would be about the only thing I could think of to hold on to.

I feel like I have fought a 12 round fight, done all I could, fought off the red wolves for decades, and am finally losing the final round. We have used all the facts, but in the end, the ammo is just tired and not strong enough for virtue signaling SJWs.

I am tired. Tired of the fight, tired of the owner sucking, tired of the coaching turnover, tired of losing good players and watching them leave for success, and just tired of having to be tired.
 

Boone

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Well - we may not win the fight over the name, but that controversy will be forever done. We've lived with Snyder for 20+ years. We can live with him for a few more. Everything else is looking up. And I'll keep saying it, the only one thing accomplished by walking away is losing something from your life that you enjoy. And I think more enjoyable days are ahead for the Redwol.... for these guys.
 

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So, kneel before the mob in obedience to their orders, and like it.
 

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the only one thing accomplished by walking away is losing something from your life that you enjoy.
At this point, for me, it's already lost. Perhaps one glimmer of hope for me would be The Washington Prime. You heard me. Danny puts a call in to Jeff Bezos, lamenting "These fekkin' SJW gobshites haven't got a clue. I really DON'T want to bow down to those arseholes and my 40% wants to bail. So whaddya say Jeff? We sell you the team, I save face by not bowing down to those power hungry statue-haters and all you gotta do is kiss Herr Goodell's ring, flash the cash and you get to pick the team's new name. It's a no-brainer, baby!"

Hey, it could happen! I try to keep the dream alive but my heart is broken and only a clean slate could keep me around.
 

DudeRedskin

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As B said, they're still the team we love. The team we grew up with. The team we shed blood sweat and tears with. The name change sucks beyond measure, but if we walk away we in effect justify the majority knee-jerk reaction. F that.
 

Boone

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I guess the simplest way for me to express it is, if you walk away, who wins? It certainly won't be the one walking away in my opinion. The misguided folks driving this want you to do just that.
 

Henry

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I’m a little surprised at how little this name change business is bothering me, to be honest. Maybe it’s because we’ve seen this coming for years. Maybe I’m just sick of hearing about it. I don’t know.

The Redskins .... they are a difficult team to root for these days. They are just exhausting. I’m exhausted. I have about 2371 other things that keep me up at night these days so if the Redskins change their name ... meh.

I am truly sorry about the name change for the rest of you. I hope they pick something that goes with the fight song and that they keep the colors. That would be something, at least.

And some time soon we won’t have to ever talk about this again, so there’s that.
 

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