The Washington NFL team will now be known as the Washington Football Team — at least temporarily.
The new name announcement comes just over one week after the team announced it would change its name from the Washington Redskins, which has a history as a racial slur against Native Americans.
“For updated brand clarity and consistency purposes, we will call ourselves the ‘Washington Football Team’ pending adoption of our new name,” the team said. “The Redskins name and logo will officially be retired by the start of the 2020 season. We encourage fans, media and all other parties to use ‘Washington Football Team’ immediately.”
The press release continued, “In addition, we are rolling out an aesthetic that reflects the direction of the franchise as we progress toward a new name and design scheme.”
On July 13, the team said in a statement that team owner Dan Snyder and Coach Rivera were “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.”
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Amid the nationwide George Floyd demonstrations against racial inequality, the team announced in early July that they would be undergoing a “thorough review” of their name — a major reversal after years of outcry from some critics.
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said in a statement.
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The team faced significant business pressure as well.
FedEx, a leading sponsor, told PEOPLE in a statement at the time that they “communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.’
The day prior, 87 investment firms worth a collective $620 million reportedly issued letters to FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo requesting that they cut ties with the franchise until the team changes its name, according to Adweek.
Nike also removed all of its team apparel from its online store.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Many groups have tried to protest the old name — which has been used since 1933 — in the past but proved unsuccessful in court.
In 2018, the team secured the Redskins trademark after the Supreme Court struck down part of a law banning offensive trademarks the year prior, according to NBC News.
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Snyder told USA Today in 2013 that he would “never change the name.”
He did, however, agree to remove the name of George Preston Marshall, who founded the team and was an opponent of desegregation, from all team material and its Ring of Honor, CBS Sports reported earlier this month.
That decision came a week after Washington, D.C., removed Marshall’s statue outside of RFK stadium, where the Redskins played through 1996.
Social media had fun with the temporary name announcement on Thursday, with LeBron James teasing, “Just waking back up from my pregame nap to see about The Washington Football team??? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. Is that real?? No way! Oh man they had a thorough intense long board meeting about that one huh.”
Just waking back up from my pregame nap to see about The Washington Football team??? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. Is that real?? No way! Oh man they had a thorough intense long board meeting about that one huh. 🥴🤦🏾♂️
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 23, 2020
No disrespect to Washington football team but that’s a soul crusher not to have a football name
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) July 23, 2020
The Washington football team damn that’s the last thing I was expecting 😂🤣
— Oshane Ximines (@OshaneXimines) July 23, 2020
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• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.