Nationals

Weekend Sports In Brief

Weekend Sports In Brief

CLEVELAND (AP) The Indians' pitch to bring Nick Swisher ``home'' worked.

Two people familiar with the negotiations said Swisher has agreed to a $56 million, four-year contract with the Indians, who used the free agent outfielder's deep Ohio connections to persuade him to join the club. The people spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because Swisher must take a physical before the deal can be finalized. The Indians are expected to announce Swisher's signing after Christmas, one of the people said.

The 32-year-old spent the last four seasons with the New York Yankees, taking advantage of the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium. A switch-hitter, Swisher hit .272 this season with 24 homers and 93 RBIs.

Swisher will fill an outfield hole for the Indians, who traded Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati.

NFL

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Andrew Luck has the rookie passing record.

The Colts' rookie quarterback finished with 205 yards passing in Indianapolis' win over Kansas City to break Cam Newton's year-old rookie record of 4,051 yards in a season.

The fabulous freshman also extended his own rookie record for fourth-quarter comebacks to seven by leading his team downfield in the closing minutes.

HOUSTON (AP) - Minnesota's Blair Walsh kicked a 56-yard field goal against the Houston Texans to set an NFL record with nine field goals of 50 yards or longer this season.

The record was held by two players who had eight in a season. Jason Hanson of Detroit did it in 2008 and Morten Andersen had eight in 1995 with Atlanta.

rookie kicker is 9 for 9 on field goals of 50 yards or longer this season.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Washington Redskins kicker Kai Forbath set the NFL record for consecutive field goals to begin a career with 17 straight.

Forbath kicked field goals of 45 and 42 yards in the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles. Garrett Hartley had kicked 16 straight for New Orleans.

NEW YORK (AP) - The Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins game that will decide the NFC East is moving to prime time.

The NFL says that Dallas' matchup with rival Washington on Dec. 30 would be on NBC's ``Sunday Night Football.''

Starting in Week 11, the league's flexible scheduling policy allows it to move a more appealing game to Sunday night. This is the second time this season a switch has been made.

CYCLING

LONDON (AP) - A British newspaper is suing Lance Armstrong for more than $1.5 million over the cyclist's successful libel action regarding doping allegations.

The Sunday Times paid Armstrong 300,000 pounds (now about $485,000) to settle a case after it printed allegations in 2004 that he took performance-enhancing drugs.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency concluded this year that Armstrong led a massive doping program on his teams. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life.

The Sunday Times said in its latest edition that it has issued legal papers against Armstrong ``demanding a return of the settlement payment plus interest, as well as its costs in defending the case.''

NBA

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - After missing the Mavericks' first 27 regular-season games, Dirk Nowitzki entered with 6:28 left in the first quarter to a hearty mix of cheers and boos.

Nowitzki underwent surgery on his right knee Oct. 19 after battling soreness the previous season. The former MVP quickly picked up a rebound for Dallas in a 129-91 loss to San Antonio and finished with eight points - going 3 for 4 from the field - and six rebounds in 20 minutes.

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Nationals cancel 2021 Winterfest due to COVID-19

Nationals cancel 2021 Winterfest due to COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic will prevent fans from attending Nationals games during the 2020 season and it appears will also cost them an annual offseason tradition.

The Nationals announced Wednesday their plans to cancel Winterfest 2021. The convention was originally scheduled for January 2021.

"Due to the continued uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Winterfest 2021, which was scheduled to be held in January," the team said in a statement. "We know how important this event is to our fans. That said, we look forward to offering a variety of alternative opportunities for our community to come together to celebrate our team."

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Details regarding the alternative opportunities are unknown as of this writing. 

In the meantime, Washington will continue to play its 2020 season without fans. They are 4-5 entering a series with the Orioles Friday and had to take four days off after the Marlins experienced a COVID-19 outbreak within their clubhouse and the Nats' series with Miami was postponed. 

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Making a case for Warriors as Washington Football Team's new name

Making a case for Warriors as Washington Football Team's new name

It's been several weeks since the Washington Football Team announced it was retiring its former name and logo after more than 80 years. Ever since FedEx became the first known sponsor to formally ask Washington to change its name, fans have taken to social media to voice some of their favorites among potential replacements. I spoke with several marketing experts about a few of the fan-generated names, and will use their responses to make a case for some of the most popular suggestions. This is the case for Warriors.

Case for: Washington Warriors

When it comes to the Washington Football Team, developing a new brand has as much to do with separating itself from the previous identity as it does creating a new one.

While the team’s previous moniker provided a sense of pride and joy to some people, it was considered derogatory by others. Those offended by the name had expressed resentment for decades before the team finally decided to take action this summer. But the team only did so after its bottomline was at risk of taking a hit by corporate sponsors threatening to end their relationships with the team.

If Washington wants people to take its rebrand seriously and view it as more than a money-saving play, the team will need to completely distance itself from Native American imagery. That being considered, is Warriors a good choice as the replacement name? It depends, says Tim Derdenger, associate professor of marketing and strategy at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business.

“It depends on which direction you go with it,” Derdenger said. “I’ve read things that they want to keep the feather and go in that direction as opposed to a military warrior, more of the Indian warrior. And if they do it the latter, they’re completely missing the mark on why they’re changing their name.”

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This conundrum highlights the different things that have to be considered when undergoing a name change. It isn’t just the name; it’s also the logo, the branding on team gear and uniforms, the stadium atmosphere, the fan experience, and so much more. If the team was able to rebrand itself as the Warriors without singling out a specific race or group of people, the name could work. The Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association have a great brand and don’t use human imagery at all, going with the Bay Bridge as their primary logo.

Matt White, president of WHITE64, pointed to Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder's background in advertising and branding as a reason he thinks the team could pull it off.

“I think what you have to do is, do it in a thoughtful, logical manner, where you’re hiring a firm, which he has relationships with that can really do a great job,” White said.

The option for thoughtful branding exists in a way for "Warriors" that it doesn’t for a name like "Braves." Some fans had tossed around the latter as an option because of its history as the Washington franchise’s original name for one season in 1932, when the team was still located in Boston. But that’s a piece of history most fans likely forgot, if they ever knew it. And a Brave, by definition, is specifically a Native American warrior. The name doesn’t allow for a change in branding the same way Warriors does.

“The Cleveland Indians are already being asked to change their name. The Atlanta Braves apparently are even being looked at with that,” White said. “And again, there’s gotta be a solution that doesn’t offend somebody but that can still capture the spirit.”

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That's where Warriors could be used, like Braves, to appease the base of fans who never wanted to part with the old moniker. However, Brad Nierenberg, the CEO of RedPeg Marketing, thinks choosing that name is also a choice to please those particular fans over the people who want to see a clean break. 

“If you’re gonna stay close with the Redskins, I think you’re gonna be staying with a fan base that ... you’re gonna placate the challenge to changing the name, then the Warriors and Braves are gonna be that next step,” Nierenberg said.

“I think there’s gonna be people saying they didn’t go far enough. That’s my gut.”

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This is where everything else that accompanies the name change becomes so vital. Because while it’s likely true everyone won’t be happy with Warriors, it’s possible to win over a few more people with the proper branding and imagery.

"The logo is then going to be the key part,” Derdenger said. “And what that logo will look like and how it connects back to the military warrior.

“I can’t right now see in my head what a Warriors logo looks like. ... But they have to go away from the connection to the Native Americans.”

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