Is the Washington Commanders’ Name on the Chopping Block Again?


A New Era: The Commanders Seek to Silence the Name Debate

Amidst the constant chatter surrounding the Washington Commanders’ controversial name, co-owner Marjorie Harris has stepped forward to offer a fresh perspective. In a candid interview, she shed light on the team’s strategy for navigating this divisive topic.

The Path Forward: Focus on Football

Harris acknowledged the diverse opinions that swirl around the team’s nickname. However, she stressed the importance of putting aside the name debate for the time being in order to concentrate on more pressing matters. “We have a lot of work to do,” she said, “and that name issue is going to be on the side for now until we can get things going.”

She shared her personal experience of observing a day in the community, where she found herself repeatedly referring to the team as the Commanders. To her surprise, the name sounded “pretty good.” While she recognizes the lingering concerns, she believes that, for now, the focus should be on building a successful team.

Historical Context and Name Change

The Washington Commanders’ name stems from the team’s previous identity as the Washington Redskins. In the summer of 2020, amidst heightened racial tensions in the United States, former team owner Daniel Snyder decided to change the name to the Washington Football Team. The switch was intended to distance the team from a moniker that had become increasingly divisive.

At the time of the name change, Snyder stated that the new name would serve as a placeholder until a more suitable and permanent option could be chosen.

The Debate Continues

Despite the change from “Redskins” to “Football Team,” the controversy surrounding the name has not subsided. In September 2023, the Native American Guardians Association (NAGA) filed a lawsuit against the Commanders for alleged trademark infringement and disparagement.

Adding fuel to the fire, new head coach Dan Quinn was spotted wearing a T-shirt featuring the feather from the original Redskins logo. This symbolic gesture reignited the debate about the team’s identity and its connection to Native American culture.

NAGA’s Perspective

NAGA has been at the forefront of the opposition to the Commanders name. The organization maintains that the term “Commanders” is disrespectful to Native Americans, as it perpetuates the romanticization of military conquest.

Public Opinion and the Team’s Future

According to the Washington Post, only 16% of fans believe the team should keep its current name. This suggests that a large majority of the fan base is open to a further change.

Marjorie Harris’s comments indicate that the Commanders organization is aware of the need to address the name issue. However, for the time being, the focus will remain on building a winning team and solidifying the Commanders’ identity on the field.

The debate over the Washington Commanders’ name is likely to continue for some time. However, the team’s emphasis on unity and a commitment to community engagement could potentially help to defuse the controversy and guide the franchise into a more positive era.

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