Beginning with the 2015 season, the Legends Football League -- formerly known as the Lingerie Football League -- will include a Washington, D.C.-based expansion franchise. In a press release, the LFL announced that the team would not be called the "Redskinettes." Instead, the name Warriorettes will be used. As explained in the release:
The Warriorettes were originally slated to be named the ‘Redskinettes’, however following the controversy around the name ‘Redskins’ ... the LFL has chosen to honor the wishes of many American Indians to not further promote the word ‘Redskin’ through sports.
It's not quite honest to say that the Warriorettes were "slated to be named the Redskinettes," as it implies the team had rights to the name "Redskinettes," which is a trademark held by the NFL team (but no longer used) for its cheerleading squad. (The name is actually one of the six trademarks the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had declined to renew, but the LFL announcement predates the USPTO's decision, announced Wednesday.) Mitchell Mortaza, Chairman of Washington Warriorettes, admitted to Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post that the team "obviously" could never have been called the Redskinettes.
For a sideshow like the LFL to harass an NFL headliner is an obvious publicity maneuver -- but that doesn't mean there isn't truth to what the Warriorettes are saying.
"As an avid thirty-five year Washington Redskins fan, I understand that we as fans place the name Redskins in high-regard," Mortaza said in the press release. "However, when the name offends as many American Indians as it has, I believe it is the responsibility of ownership to act. We chose an empowering name like the Washington Warriorettes as to not offend such an important faction of people that were the origination of this great country."
Mortaza has figured out a way to defend, mildly, the NFL team's name while stating it needs to be changed for the greater good. Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, might want to crib some of Mortaza's language.
"Look, as Redskins fans we understand Redskins is empowering when we refer to it," Mortaza told Steinberg. "But as an executive — someone on the other side of the table — you have to step away and say, ‘Am I doing something that hurts people?’ And it is hurtful to a certain faction of Native Americans. Obviously some don’t mind it, but as long as you have some that consider it a racist term, you’ve got to respect that."