When did the Washington Redskins Change name to the Washington Commanders?

The Washington Commanders are an American football team based in Washington, D.C. The team plays in the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL), a championship they have won twice, in 1937 and 1942. The Commanders have also won Super Bowls on three occasions, including 1983, 1988, and 1992. One thing that is perhaps surprising about the team is how it has switched names over time.

Previous Team Names

The Washington Commanders got their start in Boston in 1932 as the Boston Braves. A year later, the team switched things up and became the Boston Redskins. The name change was informed by the fact that there was another team by the same name (the Braves) in Boston. In his wisdom, the team owner thought that referring to two different teams by the same name would be confusing.

Washington Redskins

The Boston Redskins relocated to Washington in 1937. This made it necessary for the team to yet again tweak their name. In a bid to associate themselves with their new home, Boston Redskins became Washington Redskins, a name they carried for over eight decades (from 1937 to 2020).

Public Outrage Over the Name Redskins

Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, the term ''redskin'' was used by white settlers and other people to refer to Native Americans. This helped to differentiate white people from indigenous people, and there was nothing wrong with its usage. In fact, even Native Americans used it for the same purpose. However, things changed in the 20th century when the meaning of the word assumed a negative connotation, becoming racist in nature. As a result, the term became straight-up derogatory.

Why the Washington Redskins Changed to the Washington Commanders

With the word ''redskin'' now considered a racist slur in the 20th century, the Redskins found themselves in an awkward situation. In the 1960s and 70s, Native American organizations and other anti-racist groups and individuals mounted pressure on the team's hierarchy to change their name. However, nothing happened. In 2013, Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, made headlines for his unwavering stance on this matter. Snyder told USA Today that they would never change the team's name.

More Pressure in 2020

Following Snyder's remarks, it appeared almost certain that the name, Washington Redskins, would stand. However, 2020 was a year like no other. The infamous murder of George Floyd occurred during this year, sparking nationwide anti-racism protests in the United States. Accompanying these protests rejuvenated conversations around justice and equality for all Americans, irrespective of their ethnic and racial backgrounds. In a bid to stand with anti-racism crusaders in the country, sponsors like Nike and FedEx started pressuring the team to change its name.

In response, the team ownership finally reacted in July 2020, announcing that they had decided to part ways with the offensive Redskin name. At the same time, the team adopted a temporary name, the Washington Football Team, which lasted until early 2022, when the current name, the Washington Commanders, was finally adopted to signal a new era. In the same spirit, the team also unveiled new uniforms with a new logo.

The Washington Commanders; the History Behind the Name

Over time, the Washington Commanders have been known by different names. In this article we tried to cover why the team changed from the Washington Redskins to its current name.

Washington Commanders game by game schedule, click here.

Author: Dan Anderson