(NewsNation Now) — Washington’s NFL team is now the Washington Commanders following months of speculation.
The new name unveiled Wednesday comes 18 months after the once-storied franchise dropped its old moniker following decades of criticism that it was offensive to Native Americans and under fresh pressure from sponsors. The organization committed to avoiding Native American imagery in its rebrand after being called the Washington Football Team the past two seasons.
“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,” owner Dan Snyder said. “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 and Gold while forging a pathway to a new era in Washington.”
Washington joins Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians among North American major professional sports teams abandoning names linked to Native Americans. The NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and baseball’s Atlanta Braves have said they are not planning to make a similar change.
As the Commanders, Washington keeps the same burgundy and gold colors that were around for the three Super Bowl championships in the 1980s and early ’90s glory days. It follows the desire of team president Jason Wright and coach Ron Rivera for the new name to have a connection to the U.S. military.
The rebranding process had been going on since the summer of 2020, when team officials opted for the temporary Washington Football Team name that lingered into the 2021 season.
The official announcement comes one day after the news leaked early because of a local news helicopter. The chopper was circling the stadium when it caught a large “Washington Commanders” banner on the inside. Commanders was one of the eight finalists and was considered the likely choice.
Other names on the list included Admirals, Brigade, Armada, Presidents, Monuments, Redwolves and Redhogs. There was also the option of sticking with the Washington Football Team.
Last month, the team announced it would not be Redwolves because of copyright issues. It was the only name on the list of eight the team ruled out, and it was a popular possibility among fans.
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