The NFL team in Washington has a new, temporary name.
The Washington Football Team. No, that is not a joke. They will be known as the Washington Football Team and debut new uniforms in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Washington clumsily fumbled its way through a social media rebrand on Thursday afternoon. Players on the team were tweeting out pictures of themselves in their new jerseys and the team was sharing them, even though the team had yet to scrub the offensive branding from its official Twitter account.
Shortly after, the slur referring to indigenous Americans was removed and replaced with Washington “Football Team.” It took even longer for the team to remove the racist name and logo from its Instagram page and website.
The Washington Football Team’s new jerseys will still feature the franchise’s burgundy and gold colors. Instead of a logo as the helmet decal, the helmets will feature the jersey number of the player like the University of Alabama does with their football team.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the team hoped to erase the name entirely from “physical and digital spaces” by the Sept. 13 season opener.
Washington will be reaching out to current and former players, fans, sponsors and their surrounding communities to help develop a name.
“The decision to use ‘Washington Football Team’ for this season allows the franchise the ability to undertake an in-depth branding process to properly include player, alumni, fan, community and sponsor input,” the team said in a statement. “To date, we have been pleased to see so many people putting forward their vision of what the new name and design should be on their social media channels and we look forward to including their feedback as this process progresses.”
The former name was in place for 87 years before Washington decided to go in a different direction on July 13 after heavy pressure from FedEx, the sponsor for their stadium. FedEx originally told Washington owner Dan Snyder that they wanted the name changed on July 2.
In 2013, Snyder strongly stated that he would never change the name of the team, but his hand was forced. Now they’re stuck with “Football Team” as a mascot until next year.