The speculation has been rampant regarding the Washington Football Team’s prospective name change.
This speculation has been present ever since last summer, when Dan Snyder’s franchise first made the switch to the Washington Football Team, leaving behind a mascot that attracted substantial scrutiny for its historical background.
Now, the focus isn’t on the past, but on the future. The Washington Football Team has repeatedly said that the timeline for a new name might see the team permanently rebranded by 2022. And until then, people will continue to theorize what the new name might be.
To this point, there have been dozens of potential names thrown into the discussion, but those plentiful options may be starting to dwindle. Just a couple days ago, team president Jason Wright personally disqualified one popular choice, and there are also suggestions that an entire category of names is off the table.
Wright recently spoke on the name saga in his weekly brief — designed to provide some transparency to fans who have a vested interest in the name search. Wright addressed one popular name — Warriors — and stated that the name “Warriors” would not be considered.
In the spirit of engagement, I want to address a name that has emerged amongst our fanbase — Warriors. One might look at this name as a natural, and even harmless transition considering that it does not necessarily or specifically carry a negative connotation. But as we learned through our research and engagement with various groups, ‘context matters’, and that makes it a ‘slippery slope’.
Feedback from across communities we engaged clearly revealed deep-seated discomfort around Warriors, with the clear acknowledgement that it too closely aligns with Native American themes. Such an embrace of potentially Native-adjacent iconography and imagery would not represent a clear departure that many communities have so forcefully advocated for us to embrace, and that frankly, we set out to do when we started this process a year ago.
Wright’s words make it clear that the name “Warriors” will not be the franchise’s new moniker, and new theories from local reporter J.P. Finlay also cast doubt on another category of names. In a recent tweet, Finlay hypothesized that any name with the word “red” contained within it will also not be considered, on account of the connection the word “red” has to the previous name.
Given Wright’s comments regarding the name “Warriors”, and how it isn’t a complete step away from the previous name, it makes sense that all names containing the word “red” would also be avoided in this rebranding. That, of course, would rule out other popular alternatives like Redtails, Redwolves, and Red Hogs, among others.
So what will the Washington Football Team’s new name be, if some of the favorites are starting to lose their legitimacy? Well, there’s always the chance that the Washington Football Team keeps its current name. It was meant to be a temporary measure at first, but the branding has received positive feedback, and Washington took to its new name well in its first season under Ron Rivera.
Even so, many fans are not keen on keeping the name “Washington Football Team”, or diverting to the closely-related “Washington Football Club”, and would rather see a mascot that better fits with the other 31 teams.
If the mascot is to maintain that form, however, it might not be something that fans expect. On the surface, monikers like “Wolves”, “Sentinels”, “Guardians”, and “Renegades” might still have merit. But it seems as though the Washington Football Team is intent on making this new name valuable, relevant, and most importantly, completely disconnected from the miscues of the past.
What do you think the Washington Football Team’s new name will be? Are there any underrated options that deserve further consideration? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!