On February 2, 2022, after nearly 9 decades with its old name and short tenure as the Washington football team, the Nation’s Capital team chose Washington Commanders as its new name.
When most fans heard the name, they immediately started wondering where it came from. Washington DC plays a vital role in the country’s military. For this reason, the franchise chose to make it part of its name. The term commander surfaces when referring to the navy.
The franchise began its search for a new name in July 2020. The team’s quest to acquire a name came at the time of the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. There began to be an outcry from viewers over the previous name being offensive.
Native American references were left yesterday for COs. With the rebranding, the franchise decided to stick with its burgundy and gold roots.
Once the initial discussion of Washington’s name change began on July 3, 2020, amid the pandemic, there was a quick turnaround. Less than two weeks later, the team announced that they would now go through the football team.
During the announcement, Washington assured fans that it was only temporary and that a name was being made. Washington didn’t give fans a timeline, but they knew it needed trial and error with a few names. The team’s rebranding also called for marketing and reworking its partnerships with a variety of big name brands.
Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder has been talking about the possibility of changing the team’s name since the start of 2013. Snyder appeared not to back down from his position regarding the name change.
Prior to the official change in July 2020, Snyder was repeatedly quoted saying reporters should put his comments about the name in all quotes. These comments indicate that the franchise has come a long way in its journey to rework the name.
When searching for a new name, trademark issues arose. Many outlets that have followed the quest for the name since its origin also mention that Snyder and head coach Ron Rivera once discussed the name change, but it was met with little action.
The RedWolves were a close runner up to grace the front of Washington’s uniform. NC A&T students from the DMV region (Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia) have mixed opinions of the franchise’s new name.
“I don’t like the name because the name is too militaristic and really has nothing to do with the history of the DMV,” continued Xavier Dameron, head of civil engineering. “Also, my family has been subscribers for 60 years and the name change is a bit of a slap in the face for fans who have been loyal to a fault for a long time in my opinion.”
Other NC A&T students believe fans and other parts of the NFL should have been involved in the decision-making process.
“The franchise should have voted,” said Mikaela Robinson, head of sports science. “The name doesn’t match the actual DMV team or culture.”
NC A&T students also have strong feelings about the team’s controversial name. Some state that even with the new name, they cannot see past the team’s racial issues.
“I grew up living down the street from Fedex Field,” said sophomore marketing student Kyndal Cooke. “Despite having participated in countless games, I could never be a fan of the current commanders because of its old name. Although the commanders are not creative, it gives a little touch to their name. The name does not Nor is it insensitive to culture or race.