It is ironic that the Atlanta Braves have declared that they have no intention of changing their name.
The Braves are responsible for the name Washington Redskins, which in fact now officially will be changed, according to the statement released Monday morning by the team.
“Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review,” the statement said, referring to the review of the name they announced a few weeks ago after being steamrolled by sponsors calling for a change.
This doesn’t happen if the origin of the Atlanta major league baseball franchise in Boston had been called something else — let’s say, the Boston Tea Pots, or even the Boston Patriots, back in 1932, when George Preston Marshall was awarded an NFL franchise to play in Boston.
That franchise played at Braves Field, the home of the Boston Braves baseball team, so Marshall piggybacked on the presence of the baseball team and called his new franchise the Boston Braves.
And so it began.
A year later Marshall moved to Fenway Park, the Red Sox home, so Marshall kept the Indian motif and came up with the Boston Redskins. Then he had the opportunity to change the name when he moved the franchise to Washington in 1937, but what would he do with all those headdresses?
That’s how fate brought us to today.
The name of the Boston baseball team 88 years ago led to this moment of embarrassment for Dan Snyder, who couldn’t even attach a quote to Monday’s statement.
Snyder’s only mention was this: “Dan Snyder and Coach Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition-rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.”
If anything shows how diminished the value of “Redskins” has become, it is that Ron Rivera has been here for five minutes and he is being touted as a leader in the name change review.
I know many Redskin fans are saddened by this change, but this team hasn’t been the “Redskins” for quite some time, not the team you fell in love with, the one that did actually inspire sponsors, fans and the community.
It’s like seeing a version of the Temptations live without one single living member on stage who originally sang “Ball of Confusion.”
That said, you still love the songs. You still love hearing “Cloud Nine” and “My Girl” on the radio.
So you still love watching John Riggins in Super Bowl XVII or Darrell Green’s punt return in the 1988 NFC divisional playoff game, or Charley Taylor’s 45-yard catch from Billy Kilmer in the 1972 NFC conference championship against the Dallas Cowboys.
And you still love the pride and tradition that accompanied the successes and failures — like the song, for instance. The song. “Hail to the Redskins. Hail victory.”
Generations grew up singing that song at games every time their team scored. Of course, the opportunities for singing have lessened over the years.
A song whose lyrics at one time consisted of shameful Indian references and, from 1959 to 1961, included the line, “Fight for old Dixie.”
A song that was once held hostage by Dallas Cowboys owner Clint Murchison when he was trying to gain entry into the NFL and bought to rights to the Redskins team song to stop Marshall from blocking him.
Did the song really sound the same in 2019 as it did in 1991? Or was it the fake Temptations?
The fabled plays. The fabled stories. Those happened to the Washington Redskins — in the 20th century. It’s the 21st century, and they’ve been the Washington Misfits since the turn of the millennium.
If you feel the need to shed a tear or cry out in anger that the name of your team has been sent to the poor taste landfill, it is because of what has long since passed. You’ve been crying those tears and screaming in anger for years now.
You want to know what happened to your Washington Redskins?
They were bought by a guy who claimed to know about tradition and pride but couldn’t find either if they were under his yacht captain’s hat.
Hear Thom Loverro Tuesdays and Thursdays on The Kevin Sheehan Podcast and Wednesday afternoons on Chad Dukes Vs. The World on 106.7 The Fan.