By the start of next season, the Washington Football Team will have an entirely new identity. What the franchise’s future name, logo and look will be is still being worked out by team brass.
Washington president Jason Wright revealed in an essay posted Monday on the team’s website part of the criteria for determining Washington’s next step in its lengthy rebranding process. In short: The franchise will feature absolutely “no ties to Native American imagery” going forward.
“We have 89 years of history in this league and failing to acknowledge our past use of Native imagery in the consideration of the new name wouldn’t be mindful of the individuals and communities that were hurt by the previous name,” Wright said. “We’ve made significant changes in our organization and our culture, and our new name must reflect these changes.
“To that end, we will choose an identity that unequivocally departs from any use of or approximate linkage to Native American imagery.”
Wright singled out a particular mascot candidate — Warriors — as an example of a moniker the franchise is attempting to avoid adopting.
“One might look at this name as a natural, and even harmless transition considering that it does not necessarily or specifically carry a negative connotation,” Wright wrote. “But as we learned through our research and engagement with various groups, ‘context matters’ and that makes it a ‘slippery slope.’
“Feedback from across communities we engaged clearly revealed deep-seated discomfort around Warriors, with the clear acknowledgment that it too closely aligns with Native American themes. Such an embrace of potentially Native-adjacent iconography and imagery would not represent a clear departure that many communities have so forcefully advocated for us to embrace, and that frankly, we set out to do when we started this process a year ago.” Spurred by protests following the murder of George Floyd, many institutions reevaluated their relationships with racially sensitive and racist imagery.
It was nearly a year ago that Washington announced it would be temporarily adopting the name “Washington Football Team.” The decision came after years of calls for the team to drop its longtime nickname, widely seen as a slur against Native Americans.
In addition to changing its name, Washington has made numerous changes in its front office structure and business side since the 2020 season, including hiring Wright as team president, adding Julie Donaldson as senior VP of media and content and promoting Tanya Snyder to co-CEO. Tanya is also taking over day-to-day ownership duties from her husband and team owner Daniel Snyder, in light of the league’s decision to fine the club $10 million following an investigation into Washington’s workplace culture.
The franchise will still go by the Washington Football Team during the 2021 season as it works to rebrand for good in 2022.
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