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Washington NFL team to go temporarily without a nickname

Just 10 days after the National Football League’s Washington Redskins said they will retire the nickname and develop a new one, the franchise has formally dropped that moniker.

A new team name remains in development, without a firm timetable for completion. But in the interim period, the organization will officially and effective immediately be known as the “Washington Football Team.”

“For updated brand clarity and consistency purposes, we will call ourselves the ‘Washington Football Team’ pending adoption of our new name,” the team said.

“In addition, we are rolling out an aesthetic that reflects the direction of the franchise as we progress toward a new name and design scheme,” the team continued.

The retirement of the Redskins name logo now, represents a shift in approach from earlier this month, when owner Dan Snyder said amid rapidly mounting pressure from corporate sponsors and numerous other constituent groups that he intended to stop using that team identity once the creation of a new one was finalized. 

The latest announcement, as a result, marks the creation of a placeholder step, and suggests the “thorough review” the franchise initially pledged will perhaps take longer than expected.

Over the next seven weeks, the Washington Football Team will taking down physical and digital references to Redskins on FedEx Field, the Redskins Park training facility, club media assets, and elsewhere. That process is intended to be complete by the start of the regular season on September 13.

During this interim period, the Washington Football Team will retain its original burgundy and gold color scheme, and the prior Redskins logo will be replaced by player uniform numbers on helmets. A team-released rendering of FedEx Field showed the NFL shield at the 50-yard line where the Redskins logo previously was painted.

New merchandise bearing the name of Washington Football Team will be made available through the NFL Shop and Fanatics in the coming days.

A rendering of what the uniforms for the newly and temporarily renamed Washington Football Team will look like. (Washington Football Team)

While there remains no firm timing for the new team identity to be announced, the temporary name will stay at least through the entire 2020 season, meaning the new moniker and logo won’t arrive until at least early 2021. That timetable is much more the norm of other rebranding efforts in the sports industry that typically take many months to plan and execute.

“The decision to use ‘Washington Football Team’ for this season allows the franchise to undertake an in-depth branding process to properly include player, alumni, fan, community, and sponsor input,” the team said. “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.”

Part of the urgency to make some of sort of shift now, according to industry sources, stemmed from the scheduled July 28 start of NFL team training camps. Players for the Washington Football Team will need to wear some type of uniforms, and there was a desire to not use gear bearing the prior Redskins imagery being phased out of existence. The shift also gives licensees and corporate partners such as EA Sports, makers of the “Madden NFL” video game series, needed clarity for the upcoming season.

Prior to the team’s announcement, EA Sports had already been working on changing the Redskins to a generic Washington team in this year’s version of “Madden NFL,” which is set for release August 25.

The team rebranding process will be led in part by longtime Snyder associate and business partner Terry Bateman, who earlier this week was named the team’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. 

The name and identity issue, however, remain just one of numerous sagas the franchise currently faces. The Washington Football Team is also in the midst of an investigation of widespread of allegations of sexual harassment within the team, and several minority owners are seeking to sell their shares.