The NFL team formerly known as the Washington Redskins will take the upcoming season to decide on its next name.
During the 2020 season the team will be known as the “Washington Football Team.” The jerseys will remain burgundy and gold, and players will have their number on the helmet in place of the “Indian Head” logo that defined the franchise for several decades.
The franchise started as the Boston Braves in 1932, before renaming to the Redskins in 1933 when they moved their games to Fenway Park, where a baseball team by the name of the Braves was already playing.
A move to Washington followed, and earlier this month, the team announced its intention to change its name following calls from team sponsors to disassociate from the term ‘Redskins,’ which carries a negative historical connotation.
Jonathan Allen, one of the team’s captains, posted a photo of himself in the new uniforms with his approval.
Plans for fans
Washington hired Terry Bateman as its Executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer this week, and he jumps into a number of key, and urgent, decisions about the 2020 season.
In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Thursday, he said the team formerly known as the Redskins is continuing to plan on hosting at least some fans at FedEx Field for games this season, but stressed that could change as the coronavirus pandemic evolves.
Bateman said the league has daily meetings with the NFL, Prince George’s County and Maryland officials.
“As of right now we are still planning to have fans,” Bateman said. “We have some criteria that’s been laid out for safe distancing. I don’t know what the actual number will be of total fans, but the key criteria for any of us in this business is safety. That’s got to be first.
“If we can bring people into the stadium safely, according to the league rules, according to the local county and state jurisdictions we have to follow. And I’m sure it’s going to be changing consistently based on what’s going on, so I just don’t know.”
Bateman also expressed his excitement for the rebranding that took place on Thursday, as the team announced it would play the 2020 season as the Washington Football Club.
He said he thinks a deliberate approach to the name change is a prudent one.
“We have time to again step back, slow down, take a deep breath and put together a process to really be very thoughtful and inclusive and figure out what is the right thing to do to come up with the long-term solution,” Bateman said. “When we do this, we only want to do this once, and hopefully it’s going to last 80 more years.”
He said the organization doesn’t plan on using any abbreviations or nicknames beyond the moniker — they will rebrand their social media and website to reflect the new name.
Fans on Twitter have been clamoring for the team to adopt the name “Redwolves.” Bateman was asked if it’s under consideration.
“Redwolves, and about 999 others I’ve received,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve probably gotten 500 letters this week. I’ve gotten some 3-page letters from fans explaining their reasoning. It’s great, and I’m keeping them all. We’re putting them all in the hopper. There are no preconceived notions here.”