Stratford Pop Warner program changing controversial name
Washington’s NFL franchise said on Monday it will change its name after 87 years. Stratford Pop Warner Football and Cheer was ahead of them by a month and a half.
Stratford decided in early June to drop the Redskins name, which is seen as derogatory against Native Americans.
“It’s nice to know that we were out in front of it, deciding to do it when we did,” said Kevin DeVitto, Stratford Pop Warner president. “Personal feelings aside, I think we can more or less agree it’s the right thing to do.”
DeVitto said a name change has come up several times in recent years. He said he believes the name has been used since the mid-1990s.
“The economics of it were difficult and still are difficult,” he said, “but we decided to drop the name and see what happens as it comes.”
The organization has a gofundme.com page set up with a goal of raising $25,000 for new uniforms and equipment for both football and cheerleading. Its current equipment has the old name.
“At first it was very slow,” DeVitto said, and the page had raised $665 as of Monday afternoon, “but we’ve got two donors who’ll remain nameless who said they’d ante up and cover the cost. That hasn’t happened as of yet, but we’re confident that it will.”
A tweet on June 11 promoted the fund-raising effort. “In light of recent U.S. events,” it said, “we are doing our part to stand up to systematic racism, discrimination and police brutality. Please help if you can! We need to raise money to officially change our mascot name. The Native American community, our community, deserves better!”
The biggest challenge, DeVitto said, may be finding a replacement name.
“Getting everyone to agree is never going to happen,” DeVitto said. “We can’t use an NFL name. The Cowboy fans want it to be ‘Cowboys.’ The Giant fans hate the Cowboys.”