- After decades of opposition, team was renamed.
- The city’s military connections are reflected in the new name
Washington’s NFL The team announced that it has completed its 18-month-long search for a new name and will now be called the Commanders.
Under pressure from sponsors, team dropped its previous nickname in July 2020. There have been decades of complaints about the franchise’s former name being racist towards Native Americans. The Washington Football Team was the name of the franchise for the past two seasons.
As new names, the team considered Admirals and Armada, Brigades, Sentinels Defenders, Red Hogs, Presidents, Sentinels, Sentinels, Defenders and Defenders. RedWolves was a popular choice among fans. However, the trademark was already owned by another organization. Coach Ron Rivera and Jason Wright, the team president, had stated that they wanted to include a military theme in the new team name due to the connection of the armed forces to the capital. Also, the name refers to the US President, also known by the commander-in chief.
The team released a statement saying that the new identity “embodies the most important aspects of Washington’s history by paying tribute to Washington’s rich historical and championship culture, personified in mission-driven players who take charge, forge success, and break barriers on the field.”
Ray Halbritter, the Nation Representative and CEO of Oneida Nation Enterprises said that the new name would be beneficial for Native Americans.
Halbritter stated that they will no longer have to endure such an offensive and damaging slur every Sunday of the football season. It’s a wonderful moment for Washington fans. They want to support and love a team. Now they won’t have to do it with a dictionary-defined slur.
Washington was the first of the four major North American professional leagues to abandon Native American imagery amid a national reckoning about race. Major League Baseball’s Cleveland followed Washington’s lead and adopted the Guardians name after settling a lawsuit against a roller derby team with the same name.
MLB’s Atlanta Braves, NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, and NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks all defended their identities.
In recent years Washington has had little success off and on the field. After an investigation into workplace conduct and Dan Snyder’s squabble with minor partners, the league fined Washington $10m. The front office was criticised last year for failing to retire late safety Sean Taylor’s jersey. This is the 15th consecutive season that the team has failed to win a playoff game.
Rivera made reference to the team’s recent history Wednesday. Rivera told NBC’s Today that it was about renaming the team. It’s also about turning the page and starting a new chapter. There have been many unfortunate events. As we move forward, I want to say, “Hey, let’s judge us now and where our future is going as opposed to where it’s been.”
The team will continue to wear its famous burgundy- and gold uniforms.