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There were a lot of dramatic tweets following the Washington NFL team’s statement on the forthcoming re-branding exercise. Most of them featured some variation on “And there it is. The [OLD TEAM NAME] are no more.” Some were jubilant, some were devastated, and some were resigned. None were correct.
Because the statement goes out of its way to say that the “thorough” review of the team’s name “has begun in earnest” and that they “will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review.”
So right now, nothing has changed.
And you can make all the jokes you want about the Washington TBDs or Washington TKs or Washington Football Club, but the statement from the team uses the outgoing name seven times: once in the headline, once in the body of the text (quoted above), and three times in the header (plus two more for email addresses, but I’ll give them those as it’s impractical to change the entire team’s domain twice). They also included the helmet logo just for good measure.
There was a way to take the outgoing name on a farewell tour in tribute to the team’s history, but that would’ve required a thoughtful, reflective statement from team owner Daniel Snyder, and at least some acknowledgement that this was a controversial or problematic choice. This statement features no words from Snyder or any other team leader beyond the generic release-speak. In fact, it doesn’t even have the courtesy to offer a reason for the review or the eventual name change.
Even that generic language goes out of its way to let aggrieved fans know whose fault this is. Twice in referring to their past and present intended audience, they use the phrase “sponsors, fans and community,” in that order. I don’t believe that’s an accident. I believe that’s a petulant, “Are you happy now?” through gritted teeth at FedEx, Nike, Pepsi, and everyone else who, in their minds, forced this change.
But the answer, for the moment, pretty much has to be, “No, we’re not happy yet.” Maybe once that thorough review is finished, but for now this just looks like another tantrum from a notoriously tantrum-prone franchise.
Photo by KA Sports Photos on Flickr, used under the Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 license.