After 87 years as the Redskins and 18 months as the Washington Football Team, the franchise is now officially the Commanders.
The decision has been a year-and-a-half in the making after much built-up tension and public outcry against the racist connotations associated with the team’s previous name.
“Commander, basically, is Washington D.C.,” retired NFL quarterback Joe Theismann, who led Washington to the Super Bowl in 1983, said in a Monday interview with CBS Sports Radio. ”A lot of commanders in Washington D.C., in the Pentagon and a lot of different branches of the service.”
“This new identity embodies the most powerful aspects of Washington’s story by paying tribute to the team’s rich history and championship culture, personified by mission-driven players who take command, forge success and break barriers on and off the field,” the team told Today in a statement.
Other name contenders in the mix included Armada, Presidents, Brigade, RedHogs, Commanders, RedWolves, Defenders, and Washington Football Team.
“The team hired Code and Theory, a digital creative agency, to guide it through the rebranding process, which has included 40,000 submissions from fans, multiple focus groups, surveys and a digital rollout to give fans insight into the process,” according to The Washington Post. “The new name and logo will be revealed in early 2022, Wright said, and will retain the traditional burgundy and gold colors that are entrenched in the team’s history.”
And while this closes out a controversial chapter in Washington football history, the program itself still faces myriad issues.
Off the field, the program has been called dysfunctional and mismanaged by an owner who has been embroiled in scandal.
“Daniel Snyder is the worst owner the NFL has had for the past two decades,” wrote longtime sports journalist Vinnie Iyer. “In his 21 years owning the Washington team, stamped by his long-time adamance to keep the ‘Redskins’ name until being forced to change in 2020, he’s mismanaged the organization to the point of consistent failure.”
Iyer said that although Washington retains popularity and remains a profitable football organization, its revevance as a winning team has waned since Snyder took the helm.
The Washington Football Team underwent a year-long investigation based on a number of sexual assault allegations raised against former employees, according to the Washington Post. NFL officials concluded in July 2021 that Snyder “presided over a culture of fear, bullying, intimidation and sexual harassment.”
The league ultimately fined the team $10 million.
Pro Football Talk sports writers Mike Florio and Charean Williams recently noted that Snyder, who purchased the team in 1999, has flubbed the naming process — particularly in his adamance in keeping the Redskins name, and again with the selection process for the team’s rebrand.
“A majority of the people are going to be upset with the final name, whatever it is,” Florio said before the official release. “Again, dysfunction. Dysfunctional teams do dysfunctional things.”
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Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digital Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.
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