Washington NFL team announces temporary new name
Nearly three weeks after announcing the team would thoroughly be reviewing its name and logo, deemed offensive by many Native Americans, Washington D.C.’s NFL football team has decided on a new name: the Washington Football Team.
“As the process has continued internally, we want to keep our players, alumni, fans, community and sponsors apprised of key developments,” read a statement on the team’s website on Thursday.
FedEx, the team’s stadium naming-rights sponsor, stated on July 2 the company “communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.“
The team’s former name and logo was widely seen as a derogatory racial slur towards Indigenous people, said longtime opponent of the team’s moniker, Amanda Blackhorse.
Blackhorse, originally from Kayenta, wrote on her social media page on Thursday, the temporary name change didn’t mean the football team would not include what she calls “Native imagery” in its new mascot.
“It’s not done but we’re here,” Blackhorse wrote. “Still waiting to see if there will be no Native imagery in the new brand.”
Since a May 25 video surfaced showing the brutal killing of African American George Floyd by Minneapolis Police officers, national protests against police killings and systemic racism have rocked the country. The team said the name will be changed “in light of events in the country.”
“For updated brand clarity and consistency purposes, we will call ourselves the ‘Washington Football Team’ pending adoption of our new name,” the team statement read, adding the mascot would officially be retired by the start of the 2020 season, which begins for the team on Sept. 13 when they play the Philadelphia Eagles at home, and in away uniforms when they play Arizona on Sept. 20, in Glendale, Arizona.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez chimed in on July 13, stating the name change was a “historic day” and suggested the team could name itself “the Code Talkers” after the celebrated Indigenous WWII warriors who used their languages to help win the war. He received backlash from tribal members and later recanted his statement.
Team owner Dan Snyder and head coach Ron Rivera were working together to create a new name and design.
The team added the organization would also remove all of its branding from team properties including FedExField, its park, “and other physical and digital spaces.”
“The gaslighting continues. Stop using the R-word Washington FB team!!” Blackhorse wrote.