UPDATE (July 23): Washington’s NFL team announced today that they have chosen the most generic name possible: “For the upcoming season we’re calling ourselves The Washington Football Team,” reads a statement released on the franchise’s website. The hunt for a new name and logo will continue in the coming months. For any 2020-2021 games, the team will keep its burgundy and gold colors but play with new jerseys. The Indian head logo on the helmets will be replaced with players’ jersey numbers, per USA Today.
News of an impeding name change first broke on July 13, when we originally ran our story regarding the team formerly known as Redskins:
Money talks. After years of ignoring requests from Native American tribes to change the name, the Washington Redskins are listening to their main sponsor and changing their name. “Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo,” reads a statement released by the team on Monday. “[Owner] Dan Snyder and Coach Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.” Notice how they led with “sponsors.”
The fight over the Washington team name has been going on for decades. Critics call the term Redskins offensive, pointing out that the dictionary classifies it as a racial slur. Defenders of the name—among them, at least at one point, Matthew McConaughey—cite 87 years of tradition and point out that Washington’s current logo was designed by a Native American in 1971.
When there was a major campaign for a name change in the early 2010s, Washington owner Daniel Snyder told everyone who would listen that, as he told USA Today to type it out, he’d “NEVER” change the name. But then, in early July, FedEx—or as John Oliver would call them, Snyder’s “Business Daddy”—joined the chorus asking for the name to change. Seeing as Washington plays in FedEx Field, the request appears to have been a game-changer.
While we don’t know what to call Washington’s team yet, multiple outlets report the decision makers want to keep the team’s burgundy and gold colors. ESPN reports that Coach Ron Rivera has said the team wanted to include the military in its new name, while leading suggestions online include Warriors, Red Wolves and Redtails. Whatever name they decide on, we’re sure South Park will have something to say about it.