Leonsis says he's "punting" on Wizards name change
This town remains so worked up about the Wizards-Bullets debate that a single Ted Leonsis blog post suggesting a name change was "under consideration" was enough to elicit this, this, this, this, this, multiple sports talk radio segments, a Post editorial, a City Paper blog post about said editorial, and a follow-up Leonsis blog post about said editorial. That all came from two words: "under consideration."
Leonsis discussed the issue at length Tuesday on DC101's Elliot in the Morning, and the upshot is that any consideration here is of the back-burner variety.
"I'm being very sincere and direct, I've probably gotten 8,000 e-mails, and I'll betcha 2,500 of them have argued very passionately why we should change the name back to the Bullets, or why we should keep the name Wizards, or why we should have a new name," he said. "And a re-branding effort is truly a massive undertaking, because people forget, you're not just changing a name or creating a new name in your own building for your own team, it ripples through national television, all the local networks, all the local teams. I mean, it's a big effort, and it honestly takes no less than 25 months, and it's millions and millions and millions of dollars.
"And so I have so much to do, and there's so much work immediately in front of us, and there are so many investments that we need to make, I've honestly decided to just punt on the decision. I don't think it's a decision that heeds to be reached right now. I think the most important thing is rebuild the team and get through this list of 101 things to do.
"I do want to change the colors. I think that it's very natural for all of the teams to play in that building to sport a red, white and blue motif, and so yes, the fans can expect some kind of re-imagineering, an homage to the past in terms of colors and design. But as to the name change, there really is zero going on right now. And I'm listening to the fans, and it's funny how when you're passionate about something, you sometimes lose your empathy that there might be another viewpoint, And so people who argue so passionately about why you must change the name to the Bullets, the very next e-mail will be don't you dare, keep it at the Wizards out of respect for Mr. Pollin and [because of] violence and the like. You saw the editorial in The Washington Post.
"Then I have people who want us to change it to the Capitals, or hold a contest for a new name, but literally, 2,500 incredibly articulate, incredibly passionate e-mails and it's just so much to consider. But the season starts next week at home, the season starts Thursday on national TV, and I've had my hands full with doing things like putting beer holders over the urinals, and I got just as many passionate e-mails on I need gluten-free food, and we need kosher food, and we need more vegetarian fare. We've tried to do our best. I know we can always improve, and not everything we do will meet everyone's standards, but at least I think for the most part people realize that we are trying our best and we are listening."
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