Under the dual-edge pressure of a sexual harassment investigation and the social demand to change their name, effective immediately, Washington will call itself the “Washington Football Team” for the 2020 season the NFL franchise announced Thursday.
This is not a final renaming and rebranding for the team; this is the name it wants to use until the adoption of a new name at some point.
Washington will not have any change to its color scheme. It will still use burgundy and gold, and the logo on the helmet will be replaced by each player’s number in gold. The Washington Football Team will debut its home uniforms in Week 1 against the Eagles, and its road uniforms in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals.
While the Washington Football Team uses these uniforms and helmets for the 2020 season, it will be seeking the feedback of players, alumni, fans, sponsors and the community for the team name it will use in the future.
Terry Bateman, the franchise’s new executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said the team wants to include fans, business partners and alumni in the process. That takes time.
“You’re doing a rebranding process that correctly takes 12 to 18 months. If you want to do it right, you have to take a deep breath, take a step back and go through the process,” he said. “We want to do it right, we want something thoughtful and inclusive and smart and bring a lot of points of views into this and come out the other side with something everyone is proud of and can rally behind.
Fans will be able to purchase “Washington Football Team” merchandise from Fanatics and NFL Shop in the coming days.
When asked if they were ever close to a new name, Bateman said, “You can argue what close is. Everyone’s got a different opinion. The conversations have been, ‘This is great, I like this one. No, I don’t like that.’
The team retired the name it had used for 87 years on July 13 after launching a thorough review 10 days earlier.
Team owner Dan Snyder had, for years, resisted changing the name; he told USA Today in 2013 to “put it in all caps” that he would never make such a move. Some who worked for Snyder said they believed then that he would rather sell the team than use a new name.
But Snyder and the franchise have been under more pressure after the protests following the death of George Floyd in May while he was in police custody in Minneapolis. Within a few weeks of Floyd’s death, multiple sources said Snyder had been discussing the name change with NFL officials for several weeks already.