Washington Football Team Plans Name Unveil Even as Bad News Mounts

The Washington Football Team mentioned on Tuesday that it might unveil a brand new identify and “identity” on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, the fruits of an 18-month rebranding prompted by the lack of company sponsors that objected to the crew’s former identify.

In July 2020, the N.F.L. crew yielded to stress from followers, sponsors and Native American teams and dropped the 87-year-old franchise identify, which had lengthy been thought of a racial slur of Native Americans. The group adopted the stripped-down identifier as a placeholder throughout its seek for new imagery. Since then, the franchise has teased new names — RedWolves, Admirals, Generals, Armada, Presidents — in social media bulletins and statements from Jason Wright, the crew’s president.

The public-facing effort is the newest effort to overtake one of many N.F.L.’s most troubled franchises that has been embroiled with quite a few off-field scandals to accompany years of dismal on-field performances.

Tuesday’s announcement got here simply days after Washington was as soon as once more eliminated from postseason contention. The crew blew a 16-point lead over the Philadelphia Eagles in its final residence sport of the season on Sunday, shedding 20-16. After the sport, quite a few Eagles followers, reaching all the way down to greet their crew’s quarterback, Jalen Hurts, as he left the sphere, tumbled almost 10 feet into a tunnel at FedEx Field when a railing gave manner. Hurts was unhurt, and at least one fan went to a hospital.

Hurts was alarmed sufficient that on Tuesday he sent a letter to the Washington Football Team and to the N.F.L. asking “what follow-up action is being considered.” Wright obtained the letter and supplied to talk with Hurts, based on a crew spokesman, Sean DeBarbieri.

In a video launched on Tuesday, crew executives and Washington Coach Ron Rivera checked out potential helmets and jerseys that embody the crew’s signature burgundy and gold colours.

Wright, in a press release posted to the team’s website, eradicated from rivalry each variations of the RedWolves identify, favored by followers, as a result of they battle with logos held by different groups that “would limit our ability to make the name our own.”

The introduction of a brand new identify and emblem in 4 weeks will likely be a welcome distraction for a membership dogged by unfavourable information. Through most of 2020 and 2021, the crew’s majority proprietor, Daniel Snyder, was concerned in a contentious combat with three longtime restricted companions within the franchise. After a number of rounds of mudslinging and court docket battles, the league’s owners agreed to let Snyder purchase out his former companions for $875 million and totally consolidate his possession of the crew.

At the identical time, the league took over an investigation into stories of widespread harassment of girls who labored for the crew, allegations that dated again almost twenty years. In July, N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell fined the franchise a report $10 million and ordered Snyder to keep away from the crew’s amenities for a number of months. But Goodell created one other controversy by refusing to make public the findings of that investigation, regardless of calls to take action by legal professionals for among the girls who introduced accusations and by members of Congress.

The Washington Football Team was additionally criticized by followers after it introduced it might retire the uniform variety of Sean Taylor, a beloved star defender who at age 27 was murdered in a house invasion in 2007, simply days after The New York Times printed emails through which Jon Gruden made homophobic and misogynistic remarks in emails he despatched to Bruce Allen, the crew’s former president.

Taylor’s jersey retirement ceremony befell three days after the announcement, leaving little time for his former teammates to attend; his household posed for pictures with the road signal renamed for him the place the crew had positioned a line of moveable bogs; and the brother of Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes unknowingly danced on the on-field emblem with Taylor’s quantity.

Afterward, Wright apologized in a press release, saying “we screwed up the execution and, as a result, we realize that we hurt many of our fans deeply. And for that I and we as an organization are sorry.”

There had been simply 50,137 tickets sold to that sport, far in need of FedEx Field’s capability. Washington is last in the 32-team league in attendance, filling just 64 percent of its seats at residence video games.

At 6-10 with one sport remaining within the 2021 season, Washington is assured of its 14th shedding marketing campaign this century. It has gained only one playoff sport — within the 2005 season — throughout that span.

The movies launched on Tuesday expressed the crew’s hope that its new identify and identification will change its fortunes within the coming yr.

“No doubt about it, we’re going forward,” Doug Williams, the crew’s Super Bowl-winning former quarterback, mentioned.

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