Why the Washington Football Team won’t pick fan-favorite as new team name

National Sports

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – It has been nearly two years since the Washington NFL franchise dropped a name and logo it had carried for 87 years. In less than a month, the team will unveil its new identity.

While we won’t know the new name and logo until February 2, the team has announced a fan-favorite rebranding suggestion won’t be the final choice.

In a Tuesday announcement, Washington Football Team President Jason Wright explained the franchise will not select Wolves or RedWolves. He explains that while Wolves and related variations was a top contender among fans, it poses legality issues for the team.

According to Wright, other teams hold trademarks that “would limit our ability to make the name our own.” He adds that without Wolves, variants such as the RedWolves “wouldn’t have been viable for these and other reasons.”

Other professional sports teams with wolves, or some variation in their name, include the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, the University of Michigan Wolverines, and the Arkansas State Red Wolves.

Instead, Wright says the team’s new name and identity “aligns with our values, carries forth our rich history, represents the region,” and is “inspired and informed” by fans of the team.

Commanders, Admirals, Armada, Brigade, Sentinels, Defenders, Red Hogs, Presidents and the status quo “Washington Football Team” were among the other finalists for name suggestions.

While very little has been revealed about the new uniforms, the team will continue using its same color scheme of burgundy and gold. In a series of videos posted to Twitter on Tuesday, the team offered glimpses into what the new uniform will include.

In one, the team showed a blurred helmet, which appears to have a base color of burgundy with a gold stripe down the center and a gold marking on each side. In another, close-up shots of the jersey itself are seen. Again, the base color is burgundy with gold details, including the jersey number, stripes on the shoulders, and stitched stars.

In July 2020, Washington’s team announced it was dropping the “Redskins” name and Indian head logo, bowing to pressure from sponsors and decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans.

Washington was the first team in the four major North American professional sports leagues to move away from Native American imagery amid a national reckoning on race. Cleveland in Major League Baseball followed suit, adopting the new name Guardians that is now in effect after settling a lawsuit with a roller derby team by the same name.

MLB’s Atlanta Braves and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks have defended keeping their names.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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