Robert Pollin, son of the late Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin, penned an opinion piece seen on washingtonpost.com about changing team names.
There is a lot to like about Prof. Pollin’s piece. While the word “racist” appears four times in the article, Pollin is careful not to label the Redskins owner and fans as being themselves racist.
Pollin gets brownie points for that.
He also recounts his father’s thinking in changing his NBA team from the Bullets to the Wizards. Sports reporters gave an incomplete picture. It is what they are inclined to do when stories do not include a box score.
Here is one thing young Pollin glossed over. Abe Pollin changed the team name for reasons of his own and not for reasons of social hysteria now directed at Mr. Snyder.
How would Abe Pollin have reacted to a push to change the “Wizards” to the Washington Butterflies because wizards are followers of the Devil who practice Satanism. Pollin had no such intent when he, or someone, picked Wizards.
Intent should count for something. Pollin had a right to be judged on how he used the word and not on how someone else misused it.
One suspects that Pollin would have been as obstinate as Snyder is if outsiders hijacked his brand for their own agenda.
Hog Heaven does not blame Snyder for listening to Redskins fans who, by a wide margin, want to keep the name for what it means to them us.
Speaking as a very casual Wizards fan, I say Pollin made a hash of it in selecting Wizards, which could be something else Snyder learns from the Bullets.
I heard the stories of Wizards being selected because of a fan poll, but never believed it. The Pollins were going for the alliteration of the double W. They went from the double B Baltimore Bullets to the Washington Whatever Works. “Wonder” or “Warhawks” would have served as well.
I do not doubt the sincerity of Pollin’s social consciousness about “Bullets.” It fits what we know about the man. I also have no doubt that Pollin would have changed the team name at some point anyway once he moved the team to Washington.
No longer the lonely voice
There were times in 2012 and 2013, when Hog Heaven felt alone defending honor of the Redskins team name. This blog is little more than a hobby site. Our audience reach is nowhere near commercial media blogs. At times we felt like a squirt gun up against the fire hoses of moralistic sportswriters campaigning against use of a team name they had no problem saying 18 months ago.
That’s no longer true.
Since Dan Snyder’s galvanizing “NEVER” statement, more fans, including Native American Redskins fans, are finding their social media voice.
HTTR4Life published The Washington Redskins and a Manufactured Fight Over Honor and Racism on httr4life.com. Everything you read there has been published here. HTTR4Life has different followers so the message reaches a new audience. I am glad to link to the story.
The more fans that speak up ̶ because gawd knows the Redskins have been terrible at defending themselves ̶ the less Hog Heaven needs to.
Welcome to the fight, HTTR4Life. And thank you.
Image credit: “Washington Bullets” borrowed from here.