The Washington Football Team — previously known the world over as the "Redskins" before ownership ditched the increasingly controversial moniker last summer amid a left-wing wave that crashed upon America's institutions — appears to be growing even more woke.
The NFL franchise will not have cheerleaders this coming season — a first after more than 50 years, USA Today reported.
In their place will be a coed dance squad, according to Petra Pope, the team's newly hired senior adviser, who told the paper "we want to be more inclusive."
"Being super athletic" is the new goal, she added to USA Today: "We're able to do more things with the strength of a male, and lifts, so that's changed a great deal. The inclusivity, strength, and interest of choreography has changed."
More from the paper:
Pope brings more than three decades' experience in NBA entertainment to her new role overseeing creative direction and gameday entertainment. She redesigned the Nets' gameday experience as the team moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn, in addition to spending 14 years with the Knicks. In Los Angeles, Pope managed the Lakers' "Laker Girls."
Pope said all contracts with Washington's cheerleaders have expired, but all of them are eligible to audition for the 2021 dance squad, the paper said.
As for the team's new moniker, it was reported last summer that it was a temporary fix while the front office searches for a new name and mascot for future seasons.
Before settling on "Football Team," the franchise announced in early July — the height of the George Floyd rioting — that it was reviewing the Redskins moniker "in light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community."
Team owner Dan Snyder has said previously he'd never change the team's name, but soon he was on board with it. The new direction coincided with pressure from elected officials who said they'd fight against the team's intention to build a new stadium in Washington, D.C., unless the team changed its name.
Also last July, numerous women who worked for the franchise claimed they were sexually harassed by team employees. Not coincidentally among the women in question were members of the 2008 and 2010 cheerleading squads; it was alleged that team employees created videos of outtakes from calendar shoots when the women weren't fully dressed, USA Today added.
The franchise denied the existence of videos, and an attorney representing the team and owner Daniel Snyder told the paper that the matter "has been resolved."