The Washington NFL franchise on Thursday announced on Twitter it’s changing its name, for now, to the “Washington Football Team.”
“It begins here…” it said in a tweet with an image reading, “Washington Football Team, est. 1932.”
This announcement comes over two weeks after the NFL team announced they would be undergoing a ‘”thorough review” of its name, and ten days after the team announced they would “be retiring the Redskins name and logo” completely. The team will be keeping its same color scheme.
The temporary name, expected to be used through the 2020-2021 season, drew quick flack on Twitter.
One user said it’s her favorite thing to come out of 2020.
Even basketball legend and Los Angeles Lakers star Lebron James joined the fray, asking if the name change was real.
The initial decision to change the name came after heavy public pressure from corporate sponsors, including FedEx, Nike, and PepsiCo, amid the Black Lives Matter movement. As Confederate statues were torn down or removed across the country and NASCAR banned the Confederate flag, calls to change the team’s name grew as questions about racial and cultural justice came to the forefront in American life.
But the debate over the team’s name, which is seen as a racial slur against Native Americans, has been going on for decades.
Dan Snyder, who bought the team in 1999, had previously said the team would “never” change its name. But in a statement early this month, he announced that “in light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community,” the name would change.
President Donald Trump has made it clear that he does not support the name change, writing on Twitter that the teams are only doing it to “be politically correct.”
For some, the announcement from the team was a historic day.
“For generations, this team name and logo has misrepresented the true history and events that define the term ‘redskins,” the Navajo Nation said in a statement, calling the term racist and disparaging.
The Washington Football Team has a long history of discrimination, and not just against Indigenous peoples. It was the last NFL team to integrate, doing so only in 1962.
Nor is the Washington Football Team the only sports team that has been accused of cultural appropriation. The Major League Baseball Cleveland Indians team is conducting a review about whether to change its name.