Looking for a new name? How about the Washington Bureaucrats?
In July, team owner Dan Snyder gave into pressure and announced that the Washington Redskins were no more. As NBC Sports reported:
Washington played as the Redskins for nearly 90 years but faced increasing pressure to change the name since the murder of George Floyd in May.
This ‘pressure’ is a mysterious thing. In 2016, a poll found that 9 out of 10 Native Americans were not offended by the name. At the time, Snyder said:
The Washington Redskins team, our fans and community have always believed our name represents honor, respect and pride. Today’s Washington Post polling shows Native Americans agree. We are gratified by this overwhelming support from the Native American community, and the team will proudly carry the Redskins name.
But times change. For the coming season The Franchise Formerly Known as the Redskins (TFFKATR) will compete as the Washington Football Team. NBC Sports reports:
That decision allows the organization to continue to work towards a new name and gather input from fans, alumni as well as figure out a plan to properly honor Native Americans and the military, which is a priority for team owner Dan Snyder and head coach Ron Rivera.
I don’t envy them. In an era where pretty much everything is considered racist by somebody, the franchise owners will have a hard time finding a name that somebody in some dark corner of the internet doesn’t want to cancel. A lesson from the recent riots in Minneapolis is that letting extremists have their way doesn’t sate them. Once you’ve identified yourself as a soft target you’ll be hit over and over again whatever you do. Think how quickly we went from “We’re only coming for the confederate statues” to hauling down statues of Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant and vandalizing a memorial to the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.
But, if TFFKATR are on the lookout, I have a fitting one: The Washington Bureaucrats. They are what made D.C. famous.
As Figure 1 shows, 32.5% of D.C.’s GDP comes from ‘Government and government enterprises‘.
Figure 1: Government and government enterprises as a share of GDP
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
Figure 2 shows that, while D.C. accounts for just 0.5% of all employment in the United States, it accounts for a massive 25.8% of all government employment.
Figure 2: District of Columbia, share of United States
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
TFFKATR should take a leaf out of the Packers’ book and take their name from the city’s employment.
John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.