As an organization, the Washington Football Team is in a transition period, while their team is beginning to show signs of turning the corner after winning its first division crown since 2015 and clinching just its fifth playoff appearance in the last 21 years.
The first move that confirmed the franchise was serious about this transition? When it announced the removal of its former team name and logo after decades of drawback from fans and the national media, who claimed it was offensive towards Native Americans.
Fans will remember owner Dan Snyder, who purchased the team back in 1999, being adamant about “never” changing the name, maintaining that it somehow honored Native Americans.
After facing pressure from fans and the community — plus prominent sponsors like FedEx, PepsiCo and Nike encouraging the move — Snyder, much to his chagrin, caved.
Well, it would appear that Washington is committed to taking the next steps when it comes to further distancing itself from its controversial history.
In an official announcement, the Football Team confirmed it will no longer permit fans to wear “Native American-inspired ceremonial headdresses or face paint at home games.”
The Football Team is committed to disbanding from its former name.
This announcement comes now that fans have been allowed back inside FedEx Field for the first time since 2019…and the first time since Washington changed its name.
The aforementioned attire was popular amongst fans, and the Football Team is clearly being preemptive as far as avoiding potential large-scale drawback.
There’s something to be said for that, and it looks like Washington has finally moved past waiting until the absolute last second to address serious matters.
We know some of you must be wondering if this announcement could prelude the franchise revealing its new name and logo. Sorry, but it’s not happening yet.
During a recent media session, team president Jason Wright made it clear they aren’t announcing the name until they’ve decided on a logo, and a “new branding of the organization as well as completing the trademark process,” as ESPN’s John Keim put it.
Getting back to the rule change, this is unequivocally the right call.
It’s pretty simple: if Washington is serious about distancing itself from anything that links back to Native American culture — not that people will forget! — forbidding fans from flocking into FedEx Field decked out in attire that reflects said culture was a necessary move.
Let’s hope fans respect the organization decision by adhering to the new rules.