A new future for Washington

“Take Command.” That is the new motto for the Washington Commanders that was revealed on Feb. 2, 2022.

This comes after two years of being the “Washington Football Team,” which was a result of dropping their controversial name: “Washington Redskins,” whose logo included an image of a Native American.

Owner Daniel Snyder argued against the name change and wanted to keep the “Redskins” namesake, but could only hold out for so many years after pressure from Native American groups, sponsors and backlash from popular media sources. 

The “Redskin” name came about in 1933 after the owner at the time, George Marshall, replaced the Boston Braves name, claiming that the word ‘Redskin’ would honor the team’s coach, William Dietz, who identified as a part of the Sioux tribe. The team would move to Washington D.C. four years later. 

When moving the team, Marshall’s wife, Corinne Griffith, wrote the team’s fight song; one that still stands today. Called “Hail to the Commanders,” the theme has come back after two years along with the return of the marching band. 

Throughout the years, Washington adopted more and more traditions with images of Native Americans all throughout their facility and gameday traditions. Some include sections like “On the Warpath,” and “Teepee Talk.” 

In 2020, The Deputy Mayor of Washington, John Falcicchio, was quoted as saying, “there is no viable path” for the team to play in the city unless they change their name. Fedex, the sponsor of the now Commanders’ NFL stadium in Summerfield, Maryland requested a change of name the same year. 

Therefore, on July 7, 2020, after Nike dropped Redskins apparel from its stores and the league announced a review of the team, Snyder announced the drop of the name “Redskins” and adoption of the Football Team, as a placeholder name, until they could decide on a new one. 

After becoming the Football Team, the city of Washington held a name change contest encouraging fans to offer suggestions for new names and logos. The eight finalists were Armada, Presidents, Brigade, Red Hogs, Commanders, Red Wolves and Defenders. Interestingly, the last finalist was the default Washington Football Team name. 

The reveal of the new name was met with an entirely new logo, new jerseys, new motos and new songs. The name change was also met with loads of backlash; however, fans of the team became split, with some accepting the change of name, and others hesitant to let go, still referring to the team as the Washington Redskins. 

The future is bright for the Commanders after they picked up a home win in their first game with the new name and likeness. The Commanders newest weapon, rookie Jahan Dotson, caught two touchdowns, including a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. 

All eyes are on the Commanders to see how the players and coaches react to adversity and change, hoping to make this a positive chapter in the capital’s rich sports history.