WFT WON’T BECOME WARRIORS OR ANY NATIVE AMERICAN NAME!

By Mark Gallagher

WFT won’t have any kind of Native American imagery as part of its next name, and the subject is still evolving across sports in the year since the storied NFL franchise dropped arguably the most polarizing moniker left in the pros.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary since Washington dropped the name Redskins and the accompanying Indian head logo after 87 years amid pressure from sponsors and decades of criticism that both are offensive to Native Americans. The Washington Football Team will be around for one more season, with a new name set to be revealed in early 2022.

With Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians set to adopt a new name at some point and the Atlanta Braves, the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and the NCAA’s Florida State Seminoles holding onto theirs for now, Washington’s process is the furthest along and bears watching as the possibilities get narrowed down.

“The Washington Football Team’s announcement that they will not be using Native American imagery is a major step towards reconciliation, justice and equality, but there’s still more work to be done,” said Crystal Echo Hawk, founder and executive director of Native American-led nonprofit IllumiNative. “This is a step in the right direction, we ask that the NFL, MLB and NHL urge the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Blackhawks to follow Washington Football Team president Jason Wright’s lead in order to stand on the right side of history.”

Wright, who was named Washington’s team president in August, ruled out Warriors in a lengthy post on the team’s website Monday, saying feedback from Native American communities showed “deep-seated discomfort” about that name.

“Failing to acknowledge our past use of Native imagery in the consideration of the new name wouldn’t be mindful of the individuals and communities that were hurt by the previous name,” Wright said. “We will choose an identity that unequivocally departs from any use of or approximate linkage to Native American imagery.”

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