Lost in the extended furor over whether or not the name of the Washington football team is offensive (Spoiler alert: It is, even if most football fans would rather ignore that reality.) is how the debate actually affects what happens in the broadcast booth, in the stands, and in the secondary market for ticket sales. With newspapers as large as the New York Post deciding to ditch the team’s name and their logo and no real hope of anything good happening this season as the ‘Skins look to open the season against the Houston Texans with an RG III who still doesn’t look like he did during his rookie year, the news that the Redskins had suffered the second largest drop in merchandise sales, behind the “in 2012 they won a Super Bowl and in 2013 they did not” Baltimore Ravens, could have slipped under the radar.
“People are having a second thoughts about wearing a T-shirt with the logo or name that it has now been called racist,” Matt Powell, senior analyst for SportsSourceOne, told CNN, while a Washington football representative insisted that it had more to do with the team’s abysmal record (last season they went 3-13). There’s also the complicating factor that the Redskins had previously sold a metric ton of Griffin jerseys, a demand that has trickled off while he works his way back from injury — something that can’t be discounted when it comes to merch sales.
It’s worth noting, though, that the CNN article states that NFL sales have risen 3 percent overall, which doesn’t necessarily factor into the argument over the Washington team’s nickname but does suggest that they are not experiencing some sort of sales hardship that is plaguing the league as a whole. Indeed, football seems to be as popular as ever, because nothing can satiate our thirst for the game, which is awesome. Undeniably awesome.
While owner Dan Snyder has repeatedly insisted that he will never change the team’s name, the CNN article brings up the possibility of other NFL owners stepping in and convincing him otherwise, since there’s so much revenue sharing in the league that a lagging franchise could potentially create a financial burden for other owners. This seems to be pretty absurd, though, because the NFL is able to make money anywhere, doing anything. That’s the nature of the beast.
On the other hand, the SportsOneSource analyst seems to think that the drop the Redskins experienced was large, even for teams that wound up with disappointing seasons. “If I’m a retailer and I’m nervous about this logo, I’m taking a more cautious approach,” he told CNN.
Maybe people are finally waking up to the notion that wearing clothing with slurs on it isn’t the best idea ever. Then again, they’re still fans of the team that’s owned by this guy. Looks like the jury is out for now.