Washington may have settled on its permanent team name — by keeping what was originally meant only to be a placeholder.
Washington Football Team president Jason Wright told ESPN on Tuesday that the team might consider keeping its WFT nickname. The team adopted the placeholder in July 2020 after moving on from the Redskins moniker and logo, which were criticized for years as racist. Owner Daniel Snyder only made the decision after considerable pressure from the team’s sponsors, with Nike even pulling Washington apparel from its site.
“There are a set of folks that have warmed to the Washington Football Team,” Wright told ESPN. “Some of the things that are emerging from that are the Washington Football Team has something that ties deeply to our history. It feels like that isn’t jettisoning all the things we have been in the past, whereas something that’s completely new might feel that way.
“It’s important for a substantial part of our fan base to feel that this is a continuation of something versus a complete reset, something brand new.”
It’s worth noting that Washington made the NFL playoffs for the first time in five seasons under the WFT name. Whether that has any bearing on the decision to keep the name is unknown. Wright also said the organization would have a permanent team name by the 2022 season, with a final decision potentially coming before the end of the 2021 season. Wright said the team is still accepting submissions for replacement names through April 5.
“The sooner the better — that’s one thing I hear from the fan base,” Wright said. “I would like it sooner than later, but it’s hard to commit to timing because the importance here is thoroughness, rigor and ensuring that we have been inclusive of all the folks that we need to listen to. That works against speed in some ways, but we’re moving as fast as possible.”
One thing is certain: The team is taking seriously the process of finding a new team name — even if it sticks with WFT. Wright told ESPN that the organization has already received some 15,000 submissions, but won’t move on from its burgundy and gold color scheme.