Washington’s NFL franchise has a new name: The Washington Football Team.
At least, that’s what the club will call itself while it searches for a permanent team name.
The name was unveiled on Twitter Thursday along with a new logo and the caption “It begins here…” See the tweet below:
It begins here… pic.twitter.com/CHCCZ64W81
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) July 23, 2020
The team announced on July 12 it would retire the “Redskins” name, which it had used since 1937. Criticism over the team’s name has stretched as far back as the 1960s.
The term “Redskin” is considered by many to be a racial slur that disparages Native Americans.
The team formally began the renaming process on July 3, following a request from its largest corporate sponsor, FedEx, whose name adorns its stadium. FedEx added that if the team did not change its name, it would remove its signage from the stadium after this coming season, according to the Washington Post. Along with FedEx, a group of investors worth more than $600 billion wrote letters to Nike and PepsiCo to encourage them to pressure the team to change its name. Nike removed all “Redskins” merchandise from its online store.
Criticism of the team’s now-former nickname had swelled for years; the franchise and its owner Daniel Snyder have resisted changing the name however up until this point. In the middle of the 2013 season, Bob Costas said the name was both an insult and a slur during halftime of the team’s “Sunday Night Football” game against the Dallas Cowboys. That following season, multiple TV broadcasters and reporters who covered the NFL stopped using the name. In the last few years, however, the outcry over the team’s name had receded from public view.
That outcry returned in a big way over the last few months, following the protests against systemic racism that were sparked by the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The incident and the nationwide movement that has followed has forced a re-examination of cultural sensitivities.
Washington’s NFL team becomes the second D.C.-based franchise to change its moniker. The NBA’s Bullets became the Wizards in 1997 over concerns the name was tone deaf given the high crime rate, particularly from gun violence, in the nation’s capital in 1990s.