The Washington Football Team is close to choosing an official new team name after departing from the racially charged Washington Redskins last year, team president Jason Wright said on Monday (July 12). In an open letter, Wright said team officials have engaged with leaders in the Native American community to select a new name.
“We have given particular emphasis to engaging, listening and learning from Native American leaders and individuals throughout the country,” he wrote. “This process has exposed to us the very deeply-held personal feelings about our previous imagery and association — and not just the simple, easy-to-categorize ‘who’s for or who’s against’ polling of our old name, but research revealing the psychological effects of Native American team names on American Indian and Alaska Native youth.”
Moving forward, Wright said the team’s new name and imagery will have “no ties to Native American imagery.”
“I am personally and deeply grateful for the Native American community leaders who engaged with us, sharing painful, raw and real stories that persist to this day,” he continued. “Their stories affirmed our decision to move in a new direction in the creation of our new name and identity and we are proudly forging ahead in this journey with a promise to our community — a promise to continue to be inclusive in our process and collaborative with our fans.”
In the letter, Wright also shut down fan-fueled rumors that the team would be renamed the Washington Warriors. “Feedback from across communities,” he wrote, showed “deep-seated discomfort” with the name Warriors because it “too closely aligns with Native American themes.” Therefore, the Warriors will not become the team’s new name.
“We’ve made significant changes in our organization and our culture and our new name must reflect these changes,” Wright concluded. “To that end, we will choose an identity that unequivocally departs from any use of or approximate linkage to Native American imagery.”
The Washington Football Team adopted their current temporary name and branding for the 2020 season. The team’s official new name, expected this season, will usher in a new logo as well.