The Washington Football Team has decided on a name officially, the Washington Commanders. After 87 years with its former name, Washington Redskins, then later changed for two years to Washington Football Team. The franchise announced this on Wednesday morning, they also unveiled their new uniforms and logo. The team president Jason Wright and head coach Ron Rivera emphasized the team name has some affiliation to the military. The fact it’s the nation’s capital almost makes it have to affiliate with the military at some point.
One legacy. One unified future.
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) February 2, 2022
“We landed on this in part because we believed the Washington Commanders can carry the rich legacy of this team,” Wright told the assembled crowd. “It’s got the weight and heft of something befitting a 90-year franchise. It’s something that broadly resonated with our fans in this process and something that embodies the values of service and leadership that characterizes the DMV [D.C., Maryland, Virginia region].”
“What this effort really is at its core is not landing on a name,” Wright added. “…However, to start a process by which we can continue to preserve what’s best about the burgundy and gold.”
The praise and excitement for the team name
Washington’s owner Dan Snyder spoke briefly before turning it over to his wife and co-CEO Tanya Snyder. Although Snyder was adamant for years about never changing his name. He still wore the new logo and uniforms proudly across the stage and seemed to believe in their new mission and goals.
“Today’s a big day for our team, our fans, a day in which we embark on a new chapter,” Dan Snyder said. “It’s been a long journey to get to this point.”
“When I first saw [the name], I saw it with the uniforms,” said defensive tackle Jonathan Allen. “If you’re looking just at the name, well, the name doesn’t mean anything to you. There’s no history there. You’ve never seen anyone play for that team, there are no uniforms, so obviously you’re not going to like it. But once you come out, you see the atmosphere, you see the new helmets, you see the new uniform, you see the players wearing it, you see the culture we’ve built around it, it’s going to make a lot of people happy.”
“… It’s so much more than a name, it’s a new beginning as an organization,” Theismann added . “Things have changed a lot. People are not opposed to change. They’re opposed to being changed. We’re not trying to change anybody. All we’ve done is modified and changed the name.”
A step in the right direction
Many would agree that the name change is respectful to Native Americans and any locals who’ve been offended by the team name for the past several decades are no longer subjected to that anymore. Crystal Echo Hawk, exec director of the nonprofit organization IllumiNative, called Wednesday a “momentous moment”. She emphasized how important putting that horrible chapter to rest and now how healing can finally begin.
“The NFL is not done,” Hawk added. “The [Kansas City] Chiefs have to step up and follow the lead and be on the right side of history. Washington has shown these rebrandings can be successful. This is a good thing. All eyes turn to the Chiefs.”
“It’s a great moment for Washington fans. They want to support a team, to love a team, and now they won’t be put in position having to do that with a dictionary-defined slur as a name,” the national representative and CEO of Oneida Nation Enterprises, Ray Halbritter said.