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- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 17, 2009

THE ENDLESS NAME GAME

A federal appeals court Friday ruled that the Washington Redskins can keep their name, at least for now, adding another chapter to a long-standing controversy. Not the "Washington" part, the mere sound of which bothers many Americans, but the "Redskins" part, which also bothers many Americans, especially some Native Americans.

The court did not deem the nickname appropriate or inoffensive. The ruling instead was based on a legal technicality with trademarks. But like an ugly win against the Lions, owner Dan Snyder will take it. He and his lawyers claim the name is a sign of "honor," and now no one else can use the team's logo. Imagine the hassle of changing the letterhead on the stationery.

I'm ambivalent over the whole thing. "Redskins" is kind of a cheesy, racist-sounding name, but a lot of Native Americans nevertheless seem OK with it. But mainly, my capacity for being offended is nearing its limit. Like so many others, I am appalled by the conduct of CEOs, Wall Street, bankers, politicians and the Nationals' pitching. There isn't much indignation left in the tank.

Still, maybe one day, after he has run out of coaches to hire and quarterbacks to chase, Snyder will make a change for humanitarian reasons because he feels -- this is only a fantasy, remember -- it's the right thing to do. But what to rename the team? Thanks for asking. Here are a few possibilities:

Washington Nationals -- Just be quiet for a second. Sharing a nickname didn't hurt the New York football Giants, back when there was the New York baseball Giants, did it? Besides, we'd get another shot at having a winning team called the Nationals.

Washington 90 -- Not "Ninety" but "9-0," like "Hawaii Five-0". Now say it: Washington 9-0. No "The," just Washington 9-0. Pretty cool, no? But what does it mean? Silly question. Everyone knows the city was founded in 1790. Now you're gonna say it's more stupid than "San Francisco 49ers"? Book it, Danny.

Washington Power -- The city's greatest commodity, and it's got that hip, trendy, no-"s"-at-the-end-of-it thing.

Washington Red Skin Potatoes -- A loophole. They still could be called the Red Skins, but it would mean an eatable tuber, not people. The logo could be a flaming potato shaped like a football, with a barbeque skewer (not an arrow) going through it. ESPN would have fun calling them the "Spuds." Rookies would be referred to as "tater tots."

HE SAID WHAT?

"It's fun to watch the fans and the city get excited about something." -- Former Kansas City Royals second baseman Frank White on pitcher Zack Greinke