By Jason Lee
WASHINGTON, D.C. - While the NFL’s newest franchise recently changed its name to the Commanders, many young fans in the nation’s capital and lifelong supporters of the Washington Football Team name are not on board.
“I don’t know if I can call them by another name. I mean, they’ve been the Football Team my entire life,” said local infant Billy Thompson.
“What am I gonna do, sell all the old gear that I have?” asked toddler Ryan Andrews. “No way! I’ve had this stuff as long as I can remember”.
Indeed, a number of fans appear reluctant to part with a name that has given them such fond memories.
“There’s just too much history and tradition associated with Football Team,” said Kayla Connors, an 18-month-old D.C. native, referring to the high watermark of a 7-9 season and an NFC East title.
However, while some are unwilling to cut ties with the past, the change was ultimately driven by the fact that many people considered the Football Team’s on-field performance to be highly offensive.
Team president Jason Wright says he hopes the name change represents the end of an ugly chapter in franchise history, which included the team changing its name from “Redskins,” a name seen as highly offensive to Native Americans, just a few years ago.
“After consulting with multiple groups, we determined that our play on the field didn’t resemble that of an actual football team, offending people we didn’t initially intend to,” said Wright in a statement last week. “We’re confident that our new name once again doesn’t misrepresent who we are as an organization, and we can finally close this issue once and for all.”