The Washington Football Team Officially Rebrands as the Washington Commanders

The name isn't too exciting, but at least it isn't a racial slur

The Washington Commanders logo at FedExField. The Washington team rebranded itself on Feb. 2.
The Washington Commanders logo at FedExField on February 02, 2022.
Rob Carr/Getty

A day after the NFL was hit with a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in the hiring of head coaches across the league, one of the teams named in the lawsuit tried to move on from using a racial slur as its nickname by unveiling a new team name.

After playing for two seasons as The Washington Football Team, the NFL franchise in Washington D.C. (well, technically, Maryland) has officially, and expensively, been rebranded as the Washington Commanders.

The name, which former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann revealed by mistake during a radio appearance, isn’t all that exciting, but at least it isn’t a racial slur.

“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,” as team owner Dan Snyder, who previously vowed he would never change the name, 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 & Gold while forging a pathway to a new era in Washington. Today may mark the first day for the Washington Commanders, but we are and always will be Washington.”

In addition to the new name, Washington’s football franchise also unveiled a new team crest and a primary logo featuring an angled “W” flanked by slanted stripes inspired by military rank insignias.

“Today we celebrate a pivotal moment decades in the making but also recognize the costs that came with this victory,” Crystal Echo Hawk, the founder and executive director of Native American social justice organization IllumiNative, said in a statement to InsideHook. “The Washington Football Team, now known as The Commanders, are the latest example that teams can make the decision to end a racist practice that has plagued professional sports. For 90 years, the Washington Football Team perpetuated discriminatory and racist behavior both through their use of a dictionary-defined racial slur as a team name and a false and offensive caricature of Native culture as a mascot. Up until 2020, when conversations about racism and discrimination were ignited in living rooms and boardrooms across the nation, our calls for change and justice went unheard. While today’s announcement signals the start of a new chapter, the Washington Football Team still bears responsibility for the racism and harm they caused Native peoples.”

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