WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR/AP) – The NFL team formerly known as the Redskins will go by the Washington Football Team for the 2020 season, giving the organization time to choose a new, full-time name.
The club announced the placeholder name Thursday, ahead of the start of training camp next week.
“The decision to use ‘Washington Football Team’ for this season allows the franchise the ability to undertake an in-depth branding process to properly include player, alumni, fan, community and sponsor input,” the team said in a statement. “To date, we have been pleased to see so many people putting forward their vision of what the new name and design should be on their social media channels and we look forward to including their feedback as this process progresses.”
Washington will keep its burgundy and gold colors and replace the Indian head logo on helmets with a player’s jersey number. All references to the Redskins name and logo will be removed from the team’s headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia, and FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
Owner Dan Snyder recently dropped the Redskins name amid pressure from sponsors and after decades of criticism from Native American advocacy groups. On Monday, he hired Terry Bateman as executive vice president and chief marketing officer to oversee the name change and re-branding process.
The franchise that began in Boston in 1932 had the name Redskins since 1933. FedEx — whose CEO is a minority owner — and other prominent sponsors called on Snyder to drop the name, and he did so after launching a review process.
“I think it’s critically important because you don’t want to do (a name change) again,” Carnegie Mellon associate professor of marketing and strategy Tim Derdenger said recently. “You don’t want to mess this up, so they really need to take it seriously.”
“Effective immediately, Washington will call itself the ‘Washington Football Team’, pending adoption of a new name, sources tell ESPN. This is not a final renaming and rebranding for team; this is the name it wants to use until pending adoption of a new name in the future,” Schefter tweeted.
Schefter also include imagry of the team logo:
It was recently reported team owner Dan Snyder and coach Ron Rivera were developing what the team called “a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition-rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.”
It appears the current name and design will be temporary.
Red Tails, Red Clouds, Red Wolves and Hogs were among the betting favorites for the new name. Obviously, none of those made the cut — or could be trademarked in time.
Rivera said his hope was to continuing honoring and supporting Native Americans and the military.
Former Washington linebacker Will Compton voiced his support for Red Wolves by saying he liked that name so much he’d want to return for a day. Hogs would pay tribute to the famed offensive line that bulldozed the team to three Super Bowl titles.
“The mere fact that they’re changing the name is going to elicit some backlash, and they need to be ready for that and be comfortable with it,” Virginia Tech professor Nneka Logan said.
“Beyond that, I think it’s important they and other organizations engage with your local community, engage with the Native American community, engage with all of your stakeholders in the process of the name change and ensure that it’s something that authentically aligns with your corporation’s values.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.