You’ve been a diehard fan of the Washington Redskins your entire life. You’ve got a room full of Redskins memorabilia splattered all over the place and you lived and died with the team through the good and the bad. Maybe you even had the logo or team name tattooed on your body. What happens now to those tattoos when the team changes nicknames because ‘Redskins’ is perceived as a racial slur?
Redskins likely to change their nickname
The Washington Redskins and owner Dan Snyder have been under fire recently because of the team’s nickname. With the topic of racial equality stepping into the spotlight after the death of George Floyd on May 25, Snyder has been under pressure to make a change. For years, Snyder has said he will never change the team name.
Those thoughts were quickly changed when big businesses started talking money. Nike said it wouldn’t produce any more Redskins gear without a name change. Amazon has since started to pull any Washington Redskins products off its site. Fed Ex, which pays the team for naming rights to the stadium, has also threatened the Redskins financially.
Snyder has since changed his tune. The team recently put out a statement saying, “In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name. This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks,” according to CBSsports.com.
The Washington Redskins have some passionate fans
The Washington Redskins have been around for more than 85 years, officially taking on the name in 1933. The team has certainly had its ups and downs, with more of the downs coming recently. Despite the struggles lately, the team is still loaded with passionate fans.
The glory years of the Washington Redskins were in the 1980s when they won a pair of Super Bowls and then added another in the early 90s. Although they didn’t quite reach the level of dynasty during the 80s, Washington was a very popular team. Many of those fans have stuck with the team, creating a solid fan base.
Some fans have even gone to extremes. Kevin McCarthy Jr., known on Twitter as R.T.G. (Redskins Tattoo Guy) is one of the more passionate ones. McCarthy is loaded with tattoos of his team. He has tattoos of the Redskins helmet, their Super Bowl trophies, and autographs of the Super Bowl MVPs down the ride of his right arm.
What to do with those tattoos?
Kevin McCarthy Jr. isn’t the lone Washington Redskins fan who is inked up with tattoos from his/her favorite team. According to NBC Sports, Jermaine Johnson had the Redskins logo tattooed on the inside of his right forearm when he and his wife were just married in 2007. Now that the Redskins are likely to change names because their name and logo are considered offensive to Native Americans, what, if anything, will Johnson do with his tattoo?
“I don’t think I’m going to cover it up,” Johnson said. “I think I’m going to view it just as a permanent tattoo, where it’s going to be a memory of the good times and the Super Bowls and the players and Joe Gibbs. If it gets to the point where it becomes an issue, and someone actually walks up to me and tells me, ‘Yeah, I see you wearing that tattoo, I’m offended by it, I’m a Native American,’ that would probably resonate.”
Matt Boiseau has the Redskins logo inked on his left calf. He, too, wants to be respectful. “I saw on Twitter people talking about if this is the new Confederate flag,” Boiseau said. “I think it’s just a symbol of pride.” Boiseau said his other calf is wide open if/when the new name comes. “It’s an out with the old, in with the new kind of thing,” he said. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be a Redskins fan, or whatever fan, for the rest of my life.”