When Jermaine Johnson and his wife walked into a tattoo shop in the Poconos during their honeymoon back in 2007, the Northwest Washington native didn't have to think long about what he wanted inked on his body.
While Johnson's better half settled on a butterfly, he opted to go with the Redskins logo, which he had stamped on the inside of his right forearm. For someone who grew up in a house that hosted numerous watch parties during the Burgundy and Gold's glory years, it was the perfect way to honor such a crucial part of his upbringing.
13 years later, though, Johnson's choice has turned into much more than that.
As the Redskins review whether they should keep their name — and as most feel like a switch to something more widely-accepted is inevitable — Johnson and plenty of other fans of the franchise who decided to display that fandom through permanent body art are left to decide how to proceed.
Are their tattoos something they, too, should adjust? Or are they instead worth showing off now more than ever, something that won't go away even as merchandise and references to the Redskins do?
Johnson, for one, is somewhere in the middle, planning to do the latter but ready to deal with the former if needed.
“I don’t think I’m going to cover it up," Johnson told NBC Sports Washington. "I think I’m going to view it just as a permanent tattoo, where it’s going to be a memory of the good times and the Super Bowls and the players and Joe Gibbs. If it gets to the point where it becomes an issue, and someone actually walks up to me and tells me, ‘Yeah, I see you wearing that tattoo, I’m offended by it, I’m a Native American,’ that would probably resonate."
Matt Boiseau, who's maintained his dedication to the Redskins despite living in Phoenix, had the organization's logo etched on his left calf after they went 3-13 in 2013 (no better time to commit to a squad than after they bottom out, right?).
Like Johnson, Boiseau wants to be "respectful" moving forward, especially if the Redskins become known as something else. He's just worried that others may not personally understand that when they come across what's on his leg.
"I saw on Twitter people talking about if this is the new Confederate flag," Boiseau said, adding that it's "offputting" to him that people could view his tat in that way. "I think it’s just a symbol of pride."
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Don Luther certainly has pride in the tattoo that's been on his arm for 20 years. Luther — who believes "Sellouts" would be an appropriate title in a post-Redskins world — sounded far less interested in the thought of altering how he looks to appease a stranger when compared to Johnson and Boiseau.
"Hell no," he said, explaining how he believes it'll continue to represent the history of the team he's invested "thousands and thousands" of dollars into. "I'm not ashamed of it."
Suzie Lewis, who couldn't resist having the retro 'R' placed on her wrist in 2015 when taking her daughter in for her own work, took a stance similar to Luther's.
"Someone told me last week that my wrist may become a 'collector's item,'" Lewis said. "Ever since the day I got it five years ago, people have always asked, 'What happens if the name changes?' My response has always been, 'Then I’ll have a piece of history on my body.'"
Jeff Rinehart's tattoo is by far the newest of this bunch. The season ticket holder had been wanting one for quite a while, but the pandemic shifted his timing.
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Finally, however, he felt safe enough to "pull the trigger" on a large HTTR design for his bicep — and had it started just as the name controversy exploded last week.
Regardless of the unfortunate coincidence, Rinehart still envisions adding many more beyond the inaugural HTTR. To him, he's just continuing to show adoration for the team that his father introduced him to and nothing more.
"I was raised to love and treat people with respect no matter what race, religion, sexuality they are," Rinehart said. "If you truly know me, you’ll know my heart is always in a good place."
The final question for this group is whether they'll be willing to pay homage to the Washington _____s whenever their next moniker becomes official. Their responses varied: a few wanted to be patient, while others were more dismissive of the idea.
And then there's Boiseau, who's already preparing the open territory on his other leg for the Redskins' next iteration.
"It's an out with the old, in with the new kind of thing," Boiseau said. "I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be a Redskins fan, or whatever fan, for the rest of my life."
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