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NFL legend teases WFT’s new name

Former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann
Former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann

The NFL and the Washington Football Team plan to officially unveil the Football Team’s new name soon. While the name has already been leaked, the league and the franchise will make it formal come Wednesday, February 2, 2022. The NFL franchise from the nation’s capital will have transformed from the Washington Redskins to the Washington Football Team to the Washington Commanders. The colors will remain the same.

Joe Theismann, former Washington Redskins quarterback, knows a thing or two about changing names. Theismann, which is actually pronounced “THEES-man,” changed the pronunciation of his name to rhyme with Heisman when he was playing college football for Notre Dame and contending for the Heisman Trophy (ultimately, he lost out to Jim Plunkett from Stanford University).

Now, the Super Bowl Champion has thrown his support behind the new name: “The Commanders.”

Joe Theisman believes Washington football fans will embrace the new name coming on Wednesday: The Commanders. https://t.co/itHSZQqnX3
“There were so many different options," Theismann said on The D.A. Show. "But once again, it’s trademark infringements, it’s getting approval from different people. There’s so many things that you have to consider. Commander, it’s basically Washington D.C. A lot of commanders in Washington D.C. and the Pentagon, and a lot of different branches of the service – so to me, that’s sort of the way I’m looking at it, as positions of leadership.”

Washington look for a new start with a new name after controversies

No billion-dollar franchise makes any major decisions like name changes lightly. Dan Snyder’s football franchise has had its share of controversies both related and unrelated to the name “Redskins.” So to finally move forward with a new name is also a symbolic fresh start of sorts for the owner and the Washington Commanders.

The name Redskins associated with the football franchise had long been a topic of controversy, especially because the term is a derogatory slur for Native Americans. While several Native Americans and group leaders have spoken out and urged the team to change its name, others identifying themselves as Native Americans have expressed that the name does not offend them. Although opinions were divided, as time went on and in the wake of George Floyd's death, more public conversations regarding meaningful societal change were at the forefront of news headlines.

In the midst of increased scrutiny regarding the name "Redskins," Snyder and the front office also came under fire and were sued over allegations of sexual misconduct. A former employee sued Snyder for sexual misconduct, in which both parties settled the case out of court. Additionally, The Washington Post in 2020 reported that several former Washington cheerleaders accused Snyder and team executives of creating a workplace culture of toxicity and improper sexual misconduct.

As a result, Dan Snyder had been battling legal issues on one front and public pressure to change the team's name on the other. Eventually, he relented and the franchise retired the name "Redskins." While he still faces other challenges, including the threat of co-owners selling their stake in the team, the new name comes at a critical time to reshape the franchise's overall reputation.

@DAonCBS I look forward to when they play Kansas City so we can all watch the Commanders ‘n Chiefs.I’ll see myself out. 👉

Of course, football teams change cities (e.g., Houston Oilers, Baltimore Colts, St. Louis Rams, and the Oakland Raiders to name a few) every so often, but a name change for a franchise that is not moving cities is rare. Former Washington players like Joe Theismann, Art Monk, LaVar Arrington and Clinton Portis will still forever be memorialized in their franchise history.

For the upcoming season, head coach Ron Rivera and the Commanders will have a foundation of talented players like Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson to build upon. They do still need a franchise quarterback, though, since last year’s presumed starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, will probably not return. It has been 30 years since Washington’s last Super Bowl win, so fans and former players alike will be eager for a return to glory.

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Edited by Piyush Bisht
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