By Ben Johnson
4:49 PM CDT, October 17, 2013
So our dear Bears travel to Landover, Md., this weeked to take on the struggling Washington Redsk- … nope. That doesn't, I mean, can I just not call them what they're called, please?
They're called that thing with the skin color, and it hurts to say it like when you have to swallow a cracker on Day 3 of a blazing case of strep throat.
Redskins. They've been called this for 81 years, but in this day and age it's like a drill bit in my ear hole every time Al Michaels says it. The year is 2013. We're calling a team the Somethingskins. It's madness.
I'm sure if you're a football fan who reads, you've encountered any number of people who've told you their take on the Washington football team's name. It's easy to condemn, much like how it was easy to condemn Philadelphia receiver Riley Cooper's use of the N-word earlier this summer.
Such things are easy to condemn because they're blatantly wrong. The N-word is hurtful, and a team in 2013 should not be called any combination of "red" and "skin" unless they're talking about potatoes. Maybe the Idaho State Redskins, and their helmet has a spud on it. Maybe.
Fans in the Washington region are somewhat torn on whether to change the nickname. This is because 16 years ago the Washington NBA team switched from the Bullets to the goofy flash-in-the-pan fantasia of Wizards. (Try yelling "Go Wizards!" without feeling an odd sense of nerdy shame.) Since then the team has barely been one notch above abject mediocrity.
Fans in D.C. would gladly change the football team's name to the Fightin' Goobernoodles if you could guarantee a Super Bowl victory. But with the way the team has been run recently, River Rats and an endless string of 7-9 seasons seems much more likely. So the status quo can seem less embarrassing, even if it's awful.
So when you watch the Bears this weekend, regardless of the game's outcome, remind yourself of some positives.
Bears is not a racial epithet. The Bulls are the Bulls, and have been the Bulls since 1966. Sure there was the Chicago Packers NBA team, who became the Chicago Zephyrs. Then that team moved to Baltimore, where they were the Bullets, and then to Washington, where … oh. Weird.
Nicknames are a slippery thing, it seems. Choosing a good one early is the real key.
Ben Johnson is a RedEye special contributor. @itisbenjoWant more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye Sports' Facebook page.
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