WASHINGTON — After weeks of speculation, and a two-year journey to choosing a new name, Washington officially has a new team to root for. Say hello to the Washington Commanders.
Team President Jason Wright announced the new name and unveiled new branding Wednesday morning. Washington retired the name it had played under since 1933 in July 2020 following pressure from corporate sponsors, despite after activist groups, including the National Congress of American Indians, pushing for change for decades.
In 2013, Snyder famously told USA Today in an interview, "We will never change the name of the team ... NEVER — you can use caps." But after Nike pulled all team gear from its shelves and FedEx, the named sponsor of the stadium where WFT plays, asked for a name change, the search for a new identity began.
Washington included fans on the journey, calling for name and logo ideas on an immersive site called WashingtonJourney.com WFT said they received over 40,000 submissions, ranging from the Washington Owls to the DC Power, and even just Washington.
On Twitter Wednesday, the team announced the team name. "One legacy. One unified future. We are the Washington Commanders."
A big clue about the new name was captured on video Tuesday night, as SKY9 flew over FedEx Field and spotted a large "COMMANDERS" sign hanging above the WFT store.
“We are very excited about our final selection, which aligns with our values, carries forth our rich history, represents the region and, most importantly, is inspired and informed by you, our fans,” Wright said. “We are confident that this identity is one that our team and our fans across D.C., Maryland, Virginia and beyond can rally behind for another 90 years and more as we continue to cheer on the Burgundy & Gold in this next chapter.”
In a WUSA9 Twitter poll, more than 45% of voters predicted Commanders as the new name, with RedHogs trailing behind at 30%. Several D.C. sports celebrities correctly predicted the name change, including legendary quarterback Joe Theismann.
"Commander - basically it’s Washington, D.C," Theismann said during a podcast appearance before the reveal. "A lot of commanders in Washington, D.C. and the Pentagon, and a lot of different branches of the service. So that’s the way I’m looking at it, as positions of leadership when it comes to the new name."
RELATED: Congress to hear about 'rampant workplace misconduct, sexual harassment' from former Washington Football employees
Following the name announcement, on Thursday members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee will host former employees of the organization for a roundtable discussion on their personal experiences with the team. The hearing follows a months-long Congressional investigation into the NFL's own handling of allegations of sexual harassment and hostile work culture within Washington Football.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that not only did the team fail to protect employees, but the NFL went to great lengths to prevent the truth about this toxic work environment from coming to light," Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) wrote in a statement.
At least five former employees have agreed to provide public testimony including former Marketing Director Melanie Coburn and former video manager Brad Baker.
Witnesses will not provide sworn testimony during the meeting, thus the designation of a "roundtable discussion" as opposed to a "hearing."
WUSA9 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.
Sign up for the Get Up DC newsletter: Your forecast. Your commute. Your news.
Sign up for the Capitol Breach email newsletter, delivering the latest breaking news and a roundup of the investigation into the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021.