Monday, December 09, 2013

Sonic Blunder - Racist Sign in Missouri Highlights Need for Washington Name Change

Remarkably racist sign seen outside a Kansas City Sonic
What I'd like to know is what the owner of the Belton, Missouri Sonic drive-in was thinking when he put the sign seen to the left outside of the front of his restaurant on Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs played the Washington Redskins?

Regardless it's unlikely he'll be in the running for Sonic's corporate franchise of the year award anytime soon.

If the Paula Deen debacle last summer taught us anything it's that the public and advertisers who crave their eyeballs and dollars don't like the stink of racism associated with brands marketed to a mass audience. (That and you sure as hell better watch what you say even if you are a ludicrously rich southern chef with a TV show and a restaurant...)

According to Sonic's VP of Public Relations Patrick Lenow issued a public statement late Sunday apologizing for the highly offensive signage only hours after someone posted a picture of it up on Twitter. But the damage was already done.

The photo quickly generated angry Tweets from across the nation and by 8:37am EST this morning it was splashed on the pages of the UK's Daily Mail Website.   

Washington has already generated enough negative media exposure this season over growing outrage over the controversial use of the name Redskins as being racist and insensitive to Native Americans; which makes the Sonic owner's decision to put up a sign that reads '"KC Chiefs" will scalp the Redskins, feed them whiskey - send 2 reservation' even more bizarre.

Is news just harder to get in Belton, Missouri than it is in other places? Looking at that sign one wonders.

As I've freely stated on this blog on many occasions I've been a Washington fan for over 35 years and was attending home games back in the old RFK Stadium back in the early 70's as a child with my father when Billy Kilmer was still QB; so I bleed maroon and gold. (And boy was there some significant blood loss on Sunday when KC crushed Washington 45-10 in the snow; fortunately 'Da Bears beating up on the Cowboys tonight on Monday Night Football makes me feel all warm and gooey inside again.)

But even though I and thousands of other Washington fans never really thought of the name as racist, if it offends people, just change it. What's the big deal? Team owner Dan Snyder (not a fan favorite) is being obstinate about keeping the name, but it's hard to understand why he's hanging onto it like a clingy ex.

Dan has the opportunity to make a truly positive change for the NFL brand and the good of the sport as a whole. You want team names to inspire loyalty not protests by the Original Americans.

So let's see if the flack from that dimwitted sign in Belton changes Dan's perspective; you don't need a degree from a fancy school or a posse of high paid lawyers to see where the majority of the public stands on the issue.

How about the Washington Warriors or the Washington Braves? I could live with that; as long as it's cool with the Real Tribe.

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