Former Washington Redskins become Washington Commanders
For a year and a half, they had given up calling themselves « Redskins » (redskins), a name deemed racist towards Native Americans. The Washington NFL franchise officially became the « Commanders » on Wednesday. “One legacy. A common future. We are the Washington Commanders,” the team tweeted. « It’s a name with the weight and meaning befitting a 90-year-old franchise, » team president Jason Wright told NBC.
The choice of the Commanders, which succeeds « Washington Football Team » used in the meantime on a temporary basis, and all the imagery that will now accompany the team to the three Super Bowls, was made following in-depth consultations with the supporters. The new team logo is a « W » in the team’s red and gold colors, which have remained the same.
Names not retained because of « legal obstacles »
At the beginning of January, giving an appointment for this February 2, the date fixed for the long-awaited announcement, the president of the club Jason Wright had specified that this new name « aligns with our values and highlights our rich history », only as an index. Initially, the nicknames « Wolves » (the wolves) or « Redwolves » had been acclaimed by fans but had not been retained, due to « legal obstacles » due to registered trademarks which made the operation impossible .
Minnesota’s NBA franchise is nicknamed the Timberwolves, and it is often referred to simply as Wolves. Admirals, Red Hogs (porcupines), Sentinels, Defenders and Presidents were other options.
Pressure to drop the old name
With the Commanders, the Washington franchise hopes to finally turn the Redskins page and thus put a definitive end to a story that began in 1933, for four years in Boston before moving to the federal capital in 1937.
In the summer of 2020, the team had to abandon this nickname and its associated imagery, under pressure from its sponsors such as Nike or FedEx, despite the reluctance of the owner, Dan Snyder. Long before its abolition, the name Redskins had been criticized for its pejorative character towards Native Americans, the Navajo nation calling it « racist and derogatory ».
Last summer, the Cleveland baseball team, which had initially removed its mascot « Chief Wahoo » from its uniforms and almost all its merchandising, ended up changing its nickname, opting for that of Guardians instead of Indians.