Fresh off their official name-unveiling ceremony Saturday, the Ottawa Rouge et Noir (or RedBlacks for those who prefer less-than-grammatical English) have got themselves into another controversy. The RedBlacks name's been unpopular enough, with many fervently criticizing it since it first popped up in January (this could easily turn into Canada's version of the Washington Redskins controversy), and the official unveiling of the name Saturday created plenty of further Internet mockery (including this superb "Ottawa Rod Blacks" logo), but that had largely died down by Monday morning.
The franchise apparently stuck their foot right back into the sarcastic fire of the web, though, reportedly sending out a note requesting that media spell their name with ALL CAPS. That produced the expected Internet reaction, from CFL media, CFL fans and even some other sports types who wanted to join on the MOCKERY:
So Ottawa's CFL entry wants to make sure media spells team name REDBLACKS in all caps. Good luck with that.
— Cam Cole (@rcamcole) June 10, 2013
Just to be clear, they're not called the Redblacks. They're called the REDBLACKS. You have to shout it.
— Harrison Mooney (@HarrisonMooney) June 10, 2013
The REDBLACKS strategy is to bring shame upon the league so that the Roughriders have no choice but to let Ottawa use the Rough Riders name. — Cam Charron (@camcharron) June 10, 2013
Maybe Ottawa should have just had a team name made out of emoticons. — Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) June 10, 2013
Yeah, just calling them redblacks in lowercase from now on out of spite.
— Ryan Classic (@ryanclassic) June 10, 2013
New #CFL team in Ottawa now "requesting" that people spell it in all caps. Congrats on making the most ridiculous name in sports even worse.
— Mike Hogan (@tsnmikehogan) June 10, 2013
The Heat always spell their name in all caps. No one else does it, but they try. So take that, CFL. — Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) June 10, 2013
Why's this such a punchline? Well, beyond the obvious silliness of adding further ungrammatical elements to RedBlacks, ALLCAPS has long been associated with shouting and trolling on the web. Thus, this has gone over about as well as Dan Gilbert's repeated use of Comic Sans. Media are under no obligation to comply with these kinds of dictates, too, so the Rouge et Noir (or their more silly name!) are just SHOUTING into the Internet ether and making themselves a more obvious joke. This might be the easiest and most widespread CFL punchline since two separate teams (one in Ottawa!) drafted dead players. The organization's unveiling ceremony Saturday was impressive, and they've made smart football hires, but they might want to work on this whole being a punchline thing. So far, it's like the Ministry Of Silly Naming Decisions...
Andrew Bucholtz is the main man behind Yahoo's CFL blog, The 55-Yard Line. He has not yet demanded that we spell his name in all-caps, but that could change at any given time...