In the world of professional sports, evolution, and change are par for the course, and the Washington Commanders’ history is a testament to that. Formerly known as the Redskins, this franchise has navigated a tumultuous ocean of changes over the past few years, ranging from shifts in ownership and quarterback rotations to extensive roster reshuffling.
However, in a somewhat unexpected turn of events, it appears fans may desire to hit the ‘undo’ button on one particular change. Just a year after the exhaustive multi-year process of switching the name from the Redskins to the Commanders, there’s a groundswell of support for reinstating the original name. This sentiment is materializing in the form of a petition that is amassing tens of thousands of signatures.
The Change.org petition, as reported by JPA Football, aims to collect 50,000 signatures. On the evening of July 31st, the petition was already closing in on 38,000 signatures. By August 1st, the number had jumped to over 40,000. If this rate continues, it will reach its goal imminently.
Interestingly, the franchise’s leadership seems to be reflecting this sentiment as well. Head coach Ron Rivera acknowledged the frequent recent use of the term “Redskins”, but assured that it was spoken with the utmost respect towards Native Americans.
Despite the surge in signatures, the specific intention behind the petition is ambiguous. It’s plausible to assume that the signatures would be presented to franchise owner Josh Harris in an effort to pressurize him into agreeing to the name change.
However, such a change is not simple. If the decision to revert is taken, the operationalization of that decision would face logistical challenges, especially considering the 2023 season is already in progress.
There is evidence suggesting that the term “Redskins” is being used more frequently, both inside and outside of the organization. According to JPA Football, the term is being used with respect toward Native Americans. This could indicate a growing acceptance of the name’s return within the franchise.
If there’s any movement towards a name change, the process will involve extensive procedures including administrative tasks, branding, legal formalities, and potentially even physical renovations.
It should be remembered that the previous name change was a laborious process, with the franchise operating under the interim name “Washington Football Team” for two seasons before becoming the Commanders.
Currently, the only actions toward the possible return to the original name are the fan petition and the coach’s statement. However, if these sentiments gain momentum, it could become a prominent issue during the next offseason.
For now, the fans’ immediate hope rests on the shoulders of Sam Howell to lead the team to victory in the current season. With this unfolding situation, the future of this historic franchise continues to be a topic of keen interest.