My 14-year-old son loves the movie "Red Tails."
it's the story of the fabled Tuskegee Airmen, and since we first saw it in the theater together, he's watched the DVD at least half-a-dozen more times. I don't know if this latent interest in World War II history comes from his many hours of fighting it out in the rubble of Stalingrad or on the beaches of Betio while playing "Call of Duty," but his history nerd father doesn't particularly care. Anything to encourage another history nerd.
Which is why I'm going to point out this to him.
It's the best alternative to the deplorably racist "Redskins" I've heard so far, in that it honors a group of men who can scarcely be honored enough. Plus, as Mr. Grosso points out, you can still sing the iconic team song; "Hail to the Redskins" simply becomes "Hail to the Red Tails."
I like it. I like the marketing possibilities. I like the logo and uniform possibilities. I also realize it's never going to happen.
Team owner Daniel Snyder's tin ear and tunnel vision ensures it won't, because he's already said the Redskins will be the Redskins as long as he owns the team. With remarkable lack of awareness, he defends the nickname, saying there's nothing racist in it whatsoever.
That's absurd, of course. You can reasonably argue that nicknames like "Warriors" or "Chippewas" or "Braves" aren't inherently defamatory toward Native Americans, but "Redskins" is a clear and absolute pejorative. Arguing otherwise is like arguing that a team named, say, the Blackskins or Wetbacks isn't racist or offensive.
Snyder probably knows this in his heart of hearts, but likely sees the specter of immense lost revenue in any change in the team's name. And so he sticks to his guns, out of ammo though they be.
Red Tails, on the other hand?
An idea whose time has come.