The search for the new Washington Football Team name continues, but president Jason Wright has already ruled out some fan-endorsed selections.
In his “weekly brief” announcement on the official team website Monday, Wright discussed how the team would not consider the fan-favorite “Warriors” suggestion as the new team name and logo, which will not have “linkage to Native American imagery.”
“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,” Wright wrote. “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 acknowledgment 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.”
The Warriors nickname became popular with fans online, and was widely chosen in a survey to season-ticket holders for new team names.
The Washington Football team removed its former logo and “Redskins” name last summer. According to Wright, the process of removal did not come down to fan approval levels, but rather “research revealing the psychological effects of Native American team names on American Indian and Alaska Native youth.”
Since then, the team has been looking for the right new name and logo, a process that remains ongoing. The team will continue to be recognized as the Washington Football Team in the 2021 season but plan on having its new name and logo by 2022.
Wright emphasized that the change in team name and logo were “the right thing to do.” Moving forward in the rebranding process, he emphasizes that Washington wants to continue its “inclusive process to listen to all voices” with a “particular emphasis to engaging, listening and learning from Native American leaders and individuals throughout the country.”
“We have 89 years of history in this league and failing to acknowledge our past use of Native imagery in the consideration of the new name wouldn’t be mindful of the individuals and communities that were hurt by the previous name. We’ve made significant changes in our organization and our culture, and our new name must reflect these changes. To that end, we will choose an identity that unequivocally departs from any use of or approximate linkage to Native American imagery,” he wrote.