I’ve posted story after story after story after story on this blog about the controversy over the moniker that the football team in our nation’s capital uses—all stressing the fact that it would be in the team’s best interest to shed itself of the derogatory nickname. But while that part of the team’s name has gotten by far the most coverage, what’s been flying under the radar is the points of contention that exist as a result of the word that appears before the nickname: Washington.
Locals can often be heard criticizing the team because of the location of FedEx Field (Landover, Maryland—roughly 7 miles outside of the District) and the team’s practice facility and headquarters (Redskins Park and the headquarters are in Ashburn, VA—31 miles from the District—and the team opened a new practice facility in Richmond, VA, earlier this year—over 100 miles from DC). The team, in fact, has had essentially no ties to the District since they moved out of RFK Stadium and into FedEx Field in 1997. That discussion, however, has taken a backseat to the nickname controversy. But in the “Letters to the Editor” column in Saturday’s Washington Post, several “Washingtonians” vented about the locations of the team’s facilities.
Some credibility is lost because the ones doing the venting aren’t resident of the District-proper, but their message, I’m sure, is shared by District residents.
First up, Maja Keech of Mitchellville, Maryland (located outside of DC’s Beltway, 14 miles from the heart of DC):
That local football team shouldn’t be called the Washington anything. When was the last time it played in the District? The team’s stadium is in Maryland and the owner lives in Maryland. And the training camp and offices are in Virginia. How about “The Landover Locusts,” “The Prince George’s Gorgeous,” “The Fed X-Men,” “Snyder’s Ax Men”? Of course, there’s always “The Maryland Crabs.” The possibilities are endless.
Then there’s Michael Lloyd from Rockville, Maryland (located north of DC, about 13 miles from the city’s border):
There is a way Daniel Snyder can make a concession regarding the outcry over his football team’s name. The word is fast becoming widely unpopular and highly offensive to some. He should drop “Washington” from the Washington Redskins.
I don’t have much of an opinion on this debate, but it’s interesting to hear the locals continually vent about it. While the city’s three other teams (Capitals, Wizards, and Nationals) play their games in facilities located in the District, the ‘Skins have almost made it a point to remain in Maryland and Virginia. Daniel Snyder did express interest in possibly bringing the team’s stadium back to D.C., but that’s when the controversy over the other name again reared its ugly head—DC Mayor Vincent Gray said he wouldn’t approve a new stadium so long as they were called the “Redskins.”
Interesting point, though, as far as teams playing outside of the city that they’re named for—in the NFC East, the Eagles are the only team to actually play in their hometown; Washington is in Landover, Maryland, the Giants play in the Meadowlands in New Jersey, and the Jerry’s World is located in Arlington, Texas.
So Philly may be the only team in the division without a Super Bowl, but at least we actually have a team that isn’t ashamed to call the actual city they play for home.