Washington Football Team Officially Renamed After a Year-Long Search
The NFL team removed its original name last July facing mounting pressure that it had racist connotations to the Native American community.
The wait is over for the Washington Football Team that officially announced its new name on Wednesday after nearly 20 months of deliberation.
The NFL team removed its former name and logo after fans and spectators demanded a change, citing racist connotations to the Native American community amid the rise of national protests surrounding the death of George Floyd and the rise of BLM rallies and programming.
The team will now go by the Washington Commanders, named after the naval military ranking.
"As an organization, we are excited to rally and rise together as one under our new identity while paying homage to our local roots and what it means to represent the nation's capital," Dan Snyder, Commanders owner, explained in a statement. "As we kick-off our 90th season, it is important for our organization and fans to pay tribute to our past traditions, history, legacy and the greats that came before us. We continue to honor and represent the Burgundy & Gold while forging a pathway to a new era in Washington. Today may mark the first day for the Washington Commanders, but we are and always will be Washington."
The team also posted a sneak peak of its new uniforms in a new promo video posted to its official Twitter account.
"One legacy. One unified future," the post said, as a nod to the team's historic past and three Super Bowl wins while making a stark effort to adapt and change moving forward.
To honor both the past and the future, the team has kept its legacy colors of burgundy and gold but has changed its logo to a sharp W.
The team also announced that it will be inviting fans to its home turf, FedEx Field, for a special event on Friday evening.
Washington joins the ranks (no pun intended) of the MLB's Cleveland Guardians, who changed their name after over a century, facing the same mounting pressure in July 2021.
"We do feel like we're doing the right thing and that's what's driving this," Owner Paul Dolan said last summer. "I know some people disagree, but if anything I've gotten more and more comfortable that we're headed in the right direction."
However, not all professional sports teams are jumping to rebrand.
All eyes are now on the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL), the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL) and the Atlanta Braves (MLB) who faced similar accusations for promoting racist associations with both their namesakes and logos.
The Chiefs, however, did change their mascot of a war horse named "Warpaint" last July.
"We just feel like it's time to retire Warpaint," Chiefs President, Mark Donovan, said at the time. "A lot of reasons for that, but we just feel like it's the right thing to do. So Warpaint won't be running at Arrowhead anymore."
The AP reported that runner-up names for the Commanders included Red Hogs, Admirals and Presidents, in an effort to keep with the military theme for the team.
New merchandise for the Washington Commanders went live on Wednesday at 9 a.m. EST.
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