After 18 months of speculation, the Washington Football team NFL franchise unveiled the Washington Commanders as its new name Wednesday morning on the Today show.
“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,” co-owner and co-CEO Dan Snyder said in a release. “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.”
Team president Jason Wright and former Washington Superbowl winning quarterback Doug Williams revealed the new uniforms on the Today show. The team will be clad in sets that maintain the traditional burgundy and gold colors but will now incorporate three stars and two bars inspired by the D.C. flag.
Wright said the team is still looking for a mascot but will continue listening to fan feedback to help work on an idea.
“I’m going to hug Commanders, because that’s what we are, and we’ve got to go forward with it,” Williams said on the show.
The announcement received mixed responses on Twitter as reactions ranged from unimpressed to hopeful over the new change in the team. Mayor Muriel Browser released a statement on Twitter saying the name change represented the “next chapter” for the team.
“Washington football franchise has had a storied history, and we are excited that today will begin a new, necessary chapter as the Washington Commanders,” Bowser said in the tweet. “Sports means so much to our civic pride and are an essential part of our economic engine, creating jobs, and opportunities for our residents and revenue to fund essential services.”
The team was originally founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves before it changed its name to the Boston Redskins the next year. In 1937, the franchise moved to D.C. and became the Washington Redskins.
Snyder purchased the team in 1999. He told USA Today in 2013 that he wouldn’t change the Redskins as long as he owned the team saying, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
The name change comes after the team did away with its previous name, the Washington Redskins, in July 2020 after a rise in criticism from Native American advocacy groups, dating back to the 1960s, that emphasized the derogatory nature of the name. At the time, the club’s top sponsors threatened to terminate their deals and D.C. elected officials guaranteed the team’s removal from the city if there was no name change, providing the final push to change the name.
In August, the team updated their stadium policy and protocol to prohibit fans from wearing Native American inspired ceremonial headdresses or face-paint, marking a move away from their 87-year-old moniker.
“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 said on the Today show.
This article appeared in the February 3, 2022 issue of the Hatchet.