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It's So Jarring to Hear the Washington Football Team's Old Name Now

Kyle Koster
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell accidentally said the old name of the Washington Football Team today during his Super Bowl media availability. He was quickly corrected and then apologized for the bad habit. And that happens. People make mistakes and have innocent vocabulary issues. There's no need to round up the pitchforks.

But it's worth considering how jarring it's become to hear people use the R-word. Even on accident. Even for people who have cringed at its use for decades. It rings in the ears much differently than it did even six months ago, when the name change was announced. Simply because it's become so less routine to hear it.

And that's a pretty good argument for why it should have been retired years ago. Yes, there would have been a bigger backlash than what materialized this year, but people got used to it. It was weird for a few months and then became normal. There's still the faction who will use it as an incendiary device but they shouldn't have been weighed into the calculus anyway.

Goodell's slip-up, in an odd way, is proof positive of the success of the move, which was better late than never. Everyone moved on with great speed and only thinks about it when there's a mixup. Given the climate at the time of the move, the NFL and the team have to consider all that's happened a decisive win.

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