After two years of speculation, the Washington Football Team revealed its new name and new look on Wednesday as the Washington Commanders.
“One legacy. One unified future. We are the Washington Commanders,” the Washington, D.C.-based professional football team announced via Twitter.
The team dropped its former name in July 2020 after years of complaintsover its racist connotations toward Native Americans.
“On July 3rd we announced the commencement of a thorough review of the team’s name… Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review,” the team said in a statement on July 3, 2020.
The team adopted the generic “Washington Football Team” two weeks later, though it was only supposed to be in place for the 2020-21 season. The team decided to keep the name for another season as it worked out a new name and complications over copyrights.
Washington co-CEO Tanya Snyder, owner Daniel Snyder’s wife, told ESPN in September that it had narrowed the final eight candidates to Armada, Brigade, Commanders, Defenders, Presidents, Redhawks, RedWolves and the current Football Team.
However, team President Jason Wright announced last month that RedWolves, one of the most popular names on social media, will not be the team name due to copyright issues.
“Early on we understood Wolves — or some variation of it — was one of our fan favorites,” Wright wrote in a post on the team’s website. “As I’ve said all along, we take feedback from our fans seriously, and because of your interest in this name, we put Wolves on a list of options to explore fully. Once we began looking into Wolves, however, we became aware of a notable challenge: trademarks held by other teams would limit our ability to make the name our own. And without Wolves, variations like RedWolves wouldn’t have been viable either for these and other reasons.”
Daniel Snyder had long said he would “never” change the team’s name despite the outcry from activists and many Native American groups. However, following the racial protests in summer 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hand of several Minneapolis police officers, and a letter to team sponsors from dozens of shareholders, Snyder announced the team would launch its review of the name.
Wright said last month the team name had already been decided, though it has not leaked. Washington legend Joe Theismann, who led the team to a win in Super Bowl 17, appeared to possibly reveal the new name will be the Commanders in an interview this week with CBS Sports Radio, when he said, “I think the Commanders is a name that is going to be one that hopefully people like going forward. There were so many different options.”
He later told The Washington Times, however, that he did not know it would be the Commanders for sure.
Wright said he hopes the new team name will satisfy the fans.
“And while we’ve always understood it would be a nearly impossible task to select a name that all of our fans would identify with as their first pick, we are very excited about our final selection, which aligns with our values, carries forth our rich history, represents the region and, most importantly, is inspired and informed by you, our fans,” Wright wrote in January.
ByMark Osborne | ABC News