The Washington Football Team to announce its new name on Feb. 2, and it may not be a fan favorite
ASHBURN, Va., -- The Washington Football Team will announce its new name before the Super Bowl, nearly 19 months after dropping its old one. But team president Jason Wright said it won't be one that became a favorite on social media.
The team announced today that it will reveal its new name on Feb. 2 - 11 days before the Super Bowl. During a podcast in September with ESPN's Adam Schefter, WFT co-CEO Tanya Snyder confirmed that the final eight candidates were Armada, Presidents, Brigade, Redhawks, Commanders, RedWolves, Defenders and Football Team.
Those names had previously been revealed, but some team officials said that wasn't an official list. But, on the podcast, Schefter asked Snyder if those were the candidates and she replied, "Yes." However, WFT president Jason Wright wrote on the team website that it would not be Wolves or RedWolves, due to trademarks held by other teams. Wright acknowledged that it was a fan favorite, but that it wouldn't work.
"We didn't want to go down a route that could be dotted with legal hurdles," Wright said in his 'President's Brief.' "The prospect of years of litigation wasn't something we wanted you, our fans, to have to bear as you begin to embrace a new brand."
Washington went with Football Team for the past two seasons, after announcing on July 13, 2020 that it would drop the one it had used since the team formed in 1932. The franchise began play in Washington five years later and had fought off public pressure in the past to change the name.
However, after protests and multiple discussions in the spring of 2020, combined with pressure from sponsors, the team looked into rebranding. Wright was hired in August 2020 to help spearhead the name change. The team will still have burgundy and gold as its color scheme.
When the initial news was announced about dropping the old name, Washington coach Ron Rivera said they wanted to include the military in its new one. After a process that included focus groups, it's uncertain if that's still the desire.
"While we understood it would be a nearly impossible task to select a name that all of our fans would identify with as their first pick," Wright wrote, "we are very excited about our final selection, which aligns with our values, carries forth our rich history, represents the region and, most importantly, is inspired and informed by you, our fans."
Washington was the first team in the four major North American professional sports leagues to drop Native American imagery after national discussions about race. Major League Baseball's Cleveland franchise followed suit and adopted its new nickname "Guardians."
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.
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