Jeffrey Ian Ross: Dropping team name makes economic sense

Jeffrey Ian Ross says eliminating the Washington professional football team's racist mascot makes economic sense:
When changing the name of a major entity, like a sports franchise, there is a considerable amount of money to be earned not just from increased advertising, but amongst loyal fans who collect, buy and sell sports memorabilia. Through online and storefront retail operations, sports memorabilia has become a billion dollar industry. Once the old jerseys and other paraphernalia bearing the names and images taken from American Indians are retired, they will become collectors' items. Their value will climb, regardless of whether they are deemed offensive. It's not outrageous to believe that someday an old Redskins jersey will be highly prized simply because that name was so controversial to so many. That's a place where psychology and capitalism cross paths, and make perfect sense.

I urge not only this economic power base to be more vocal in the ongoing cultural battle, but also the manufacturers of sports paraphernalia who stand to gain. Over the long haul, the owners of teams will be retiring the old sports merchandise for the new. Not only will fans want to buy up the old jackets, mugs and whatever else is out there, but many will stand in line to purchase the new items. Team loyalty is practically priceless, so whatever economic hit these franchises take, recovery is just around the corner.

Built-in obsolescence is something we've come to expect as a key component of American free enterprise. There is value in turning in the old and adopting the new. The debate over team names is no different. Let's dial down the rhetorical heat, and fire up the assembly lines.

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Jeffrey Ian Ross: Dropping the 'Redskins' Name is a Smart Business Decision (Indian Country Today 5/11)

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