Washington Football Team’s New Name Announced By NFL Legend Doug Williams, Replacing Controversial Former Name
The Washington Football Team dropped its temporary generic franchise nickname and officially adopted a new name on Wednesday (Feb. 2).
Appearing on NBC’s Today Show, team president Jason Wright, NFL legend Doug Williams, who was the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, and captain Jonathan Allen revealed that Washington’s new name would be the Commanders.
“It’s a name that has the weight and meaning befitting a 90-year-old franchise,” Wright said. “It’s something that broadly resonated with our fans and it's something that we believe embodies the values of service and leadership that really define the [District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia] area.
The new name has “got a good sound to it,” said Williams, who led Washington to a Super Bowl victory in 1988.
A video clip of the announcement is below.
The Commanders announced in July 2020 that it had retired the team’s controversial longtime nickname, the Redskins, that was associated with the franchise since 1933, according to CBS Sports. Previously, the franchise was called the Boston Braves in 1932 before switching to the Boston Redskins the following year.
For many years, the name “Redskins” courted controversy because many viewed it as derogatory toward Native Americans. Team owner Dan Snyder steadfastly refused to change the name until former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd in May 2020, igniting a racial reckoning across the United States. A jury convicted Chauvin in April 2021 on murder and manslaughter charges.
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According to CBS Sports, corporate sponsors, including FedEx, Nike, Target, Walmart and Amazon, pressured the franchise to change its nickname.