Nearly a century after the team’s inception and 18 months after dropping ‘Redskins’ amid pressure from Native American groups, the Washington Football Team is finally ready to settle on a permanent name.
The club told NBC’s Today that it will announce the new moniker live during the national morning show’s February 2 broadcast.
The team hasn’t revealed any of the options being considered, but fans have frequently suggested RedTails, which is a nod to the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. That name is currently registered to Martin McCaulay, a 61-year-old actuary from Alexandria, Virginia, who told DailyMail.com in July of 2020 that the club could have it for free. Redwolves, Hogs, Legends and Wolfpack have also been suggested.
Redwolves are among the suggestions put forth by fans of the former Washington Redskins
The name change serves as a welcome departure from the team’s ongoing 6-10 campaign and recent allegations in the Washington Post that owner Dan Snyder sought to prevent employees from speaking to NFL investigators who were probing allegations of sexual harassment at the club.
The NFL investigation resulted in a $10 million fine for the WFT and Snyder temporarily stepped down from day-to-day control of the franchise, but details about the league findings have never been revealed despite demands from accusers, attorneys, and fans.
The club is now in its second season as The Washington Football Team (WFT) after the 2020 decision to lose ‘Redskins’ amid a national crackdown on racism in the wake of the Minneapolis police killing of African-American man George Floyd.
The club originated in Boston, where then-owner George P. Marshall had wanted to call them the ‘Braves’ but opted for his second choice due to the existence of the city’s National League baseball team, which has since moved on to Milwaukee and Atlanta.
The term’s origin is disputed, according to a 2016 Washington Post article, that claims it was first used as a pejorative as early as 1863 in Minnesota.
‘The State reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory,’ read an announcement in The Winona Daily Republican. ‘This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of the Red River are worth.’
By 1898, Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary began defining ‘redskin’ with the phrase ‘often contemptuous.’
A 2016 Washington Post poll found that 90 percent of the 504 Native American respondents were ‘not bothered’ by the team name. Snyder ultimately wrote an open letter, defending his decision to keep the moniker by citing the study.
However, that survey and other similar studies have been slammed by journalists and social scientists as being unreliable.
‘The reporters and editors behind this story must have known that it would be used as justification for the continued use of these harmful, racist mascots,’ read a statement from the Native American Journalists Association. ‘They were either willfully malicious or dangerously naïve in the process and reporting used in this story, and neither is acceptable from any journalistic institution.’
In March of 2020, UC Berkeley revealed a study that found that more than half of its 1,000 Native American respondents were offended by the team name.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that a trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes on free speech rights. Prior to that, the United States Patent and Trademark office had tried to revoke the Redskins’ trademark because it was a racial epithet.
Eighteen months after retiring its longtime name and becoming the Washington Football Team, the NFL franchise in the nation’s capital is ready to unveil its newest team name.
The Washington Football Team shared on TODAY Tuesday that it will officially announce the organization’s team name and identity on Feb. 2 live on TODAY.
The franchise has been known as the Washington Football Team since July 2020, when it announced that it was changing its name from the Washington Redskins, which was long condemned as an anti-Indigenous slur.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement at the time that he was ‘supportive of this important step.’
The move came after years of efforts by Native American groups to have the name changed, as well as the reignited focus on racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
FedEx, which owns the naming rights to the team’s home stadium, also called for the franchise to drop the name.
Washington, which is 6-10 this season, has played two seasons under the Football Team moniker.
The team has shared a look at its 18-month rebranding process on its ‘Making the Brand’ video series on the team website. The franchise said it has received nearly 40,000 fan submissions from 61 countries and all 50 states of potential new names for the team, from Legends to Wolfpack to Redwolves.