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Dear Etsy re: Washington’s R-Word


Dear Etsy re: Washington’s R-Word

Hi, I’m Defunkd. Not sure if you even know I exist, but, in the last few years our community has built an independent niche marketplace. Some people describe us as the “Etsy for Vintage Tees.” We take that as a compliment, given we’ve always been fans of yours!

I’m writing you because we recently decided to prohibit the sale of vintage Washington NFL tees because they use the R-word. We’re inviting you to join us.

Your crafty vendors do what they do best by transforming Washington’s branding into handmade items – from sexy lingerie to dog scarfs. Plus, girls’ dressesbaby onesies and diapers! Even our most precious little people can unwillingly go on the offensive.

The question isn’t whether Washington’s team name is racist. (It is.) The question is: Are you okay with slinging a racial slur through your grassroots marketplace? It’s being re-purposed and landing on all sorts of new products. Inventive merchandise that even the heartless owner of an NFL team and his evil marketing team never thought to produce.

I know what you’re thinking… Since we only sell true vintage t-shirts, it was an easy decision for us to make. It’s true, the ban won’t affect our bottom-line like it will yours – given you have close to 1500 items currently using the R-word in the listing title. Truthfully, the ban won’t affect our bottom-line at all because we don’t profit from any listings or take commissions from sales. It’s a great position to be in, when profits don’t complicate doing the right thing!

So why are we rallying for your support, you ask? Why not ask eBay or Amazon? Well, we’re both different from those companies. We’ve built marketplaces that aren’t driven by corporate and shareholder greed – places where people mean more than profits. We’re also proactive.

The name change is inevitable in the coming years. The pressure from players and fans continues to grow. Maybe Washington smartens up and respectfully makes the change on its own. Maybe the NFL finally weighs in. But chances are, shrinking corporate coffers will most likely get their attention, as every little piece of protest begins to trickle down to effect merchandising profits.

Of course, Washington isn’t the only sports team guilty of branding that’s offensive to American Indians, but they’re by far the worst offenders. But it’s all about baby steps. Once Washington makes the right move, the other teams will stop hiding behind them.

Why not watch this video again, mull it over in a meeting at your HQ – and let us know if you’ll join the team, cheering on progress from the bleachers.

Thanks for your consideration!



Jimmy founded Defunkd in 2004 when he started selling vintage t-shirts online. 20 years of experience later and he hasn't looked back since. Actually, he looks back all the time given he's a sucker for nostalgia. For more, check the history of Defunkd and Jimmy's Expertise.

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