The Washington Football Team — formerly known as the Redskins, which NBC News characterized as a "long-used racist slur against Native Americans" — has a new name.
Hey, D.C. fans — you now have the Washington Commanders to cheer on at FedEx Field.
What are the details?
The team's Wednesday announcement of its new name comes a year and a half after employing "the Football Team" as a placeholder name following the decision to scrub the Redskins moniker in July 2020 amid increased racism outcries over the death of George Floyd.
NBC News didn't use the word "Redskins" in its article about the name change, but the network did say the team was "criticized for using an offensive name, which mocked Native Americans."
Team president Jason Wright said the Commanders moniker “has the weight and meaning befitting a 90-year-old franchise," NBC News added.
“It’s something that broadly resonated with our fans, and it’s something that we believe embodies the values of service and leadership that really define the DMV [i.e., DC/Maryland/Virginia] and this community. It’s also something importantly that we can own and grow for the next 90 years,” Wright added on "Today," the network said.
Here's a video introducing the Commanders:
NBC News said other names that had been under final consideration included the Armada, Presidents, Brigade, Red Hogs, Red Wolves, and Defenders.
How are folks reacting to 'Commanders'?
As you might expect, plenty of folks are not fans of the team's new name:
- "So let me get this straight: they replaced the Washington Redskins and their awesome logo of a Native American warrior with the 'Washington Commanders' to honor the white guys who conquered them?" one Twitter commenter observed.
- “'4th and 25 for the Washington Commanders' has a nice ring to it," another user quipped. "I like it!"
- "Good to see the #Washington @commanders have decided to continue the team’s long tradition ... of making bad decisions," another commenter said.
Even the team's star defensive end Chase Young graded "Commanders" with an F when asked about it along with other possible new names late last year:
Others quickly noted what could be an unfortunate team nickname: The Commies. Sports podcaster Pat McAfee saw it right away:
Others couldn't help letting their mockery fly over "commies" also:
- "Haha. The Washington Commies!!!" another Twitter user said. "So fitting for DC these days lol."
- "Can't wait to hear the 'Let's Go Commies!' chants at FedEx field," another commenter wrote. "Great choice...lol"
- "Washington Commanders is a mouthful and people will want a way to shorten it up," another use said. "Ladies and gentlemen, may I present: The Washington Commies."
The Redskins name had been drawing an increasing degree of protest in recent years, but amid 2020's rioting and social media mobs rallying to dismantle and cancel just about anything attached to the slightest hint of racism, cultural appropriation, colonialism, or white supremacy — even if connections were centuries in the past — the team had greater motivation to fall in line.
The Washington franchise made other moves with the same politically correct flavor, such as dropping cheerleaders in favor of a coed dance squad in order to "be more inclusive" in early 2021. And just prior to last season, it banned fans from wearing Native American headdresses and face paint at home games.
Interestingly, back in 2016, the Washington Post released a poll indicating that a vast majority of Native Americans didn't have a problem with Washington's then-mascot, the Redskins.