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Bengals name change petition is almost 16,000 signatures strong

Fans are wanting to commemorate the life of the city's beloved gorilla by renaming their equally beloved football team.

John Sommers II/Getty Images

Recently, there have been quite a few movements for team name changes in professional sports. In the collegiate arena, the North Dakota State Fighting Sioux were renamed to become the Fighting Hawks. In the NFL, the Washington Redskins have been under fire for their polarizing moniker. These situations are certainly a quagmire, and it's really hard to say what is wrong and what is right.

But the latest call for a team to change their name is more than just a matter of political correctness. Fans of the Cincinnati Bengals have been petitioning this week to rename their NFL franchise in memoriam of a famous gorilla. The petition, entitled "Rename the Cincinnati Bengals to the Cincinnati Harambes in honor of Harambe", has received just shy of 16,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon, only three days after its inception, and looks like it should reach its goal of 25,000 signatures easily.

In case you're out of the loop here, Harambe was a resident silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. He was tragically killed in late May when young boy climbed into his enclosure and was dragged around by the 440-pound gorilla. Zoo officials made the call to kill Harambe for the sake of the child's safety. Ever since then, he's kind of taken up a second life as an Internet meme, with folks all over the web (mostly ironically) memorializing the gorilla in their own unique ways.

For what it's worth, the petition's founder, Julian Ortiz, makes a pretty convincing case for the team to take up the name of a local legend.

"The Cleveland Browns named their team after a former Coach who made a great impact on their city so why cant the Bengals do it as well in honor of a hero who made an impact on their city too!"

Rest in peace Harambe, a furry friend, our closest relative, and perhaps our division rival in the near future.