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Commanders meaning and why Washington chose it as their new name

Joshua Rogers February 2, 2022
Commanders meaning and why Washington chose it as their new name
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Washington Football team officially has a new name after a lengthy process. Here’s the meaning of Commanders and why Washington chose it as their new name.

On Wednesday, the Washington Football Team announced it will now be known as the Washington Commanders. The team had previously been known as the ‘Redskins’ dating back to the team’s inception in Boston in 1933.

However, over the last 20 months they had started the process of finding a new moniker following pressure from the Native American community and team sponsors in light of its racist connotations.

During the announcement, the team also unveiled its new logo and uniforms with an all-white set, an all-burgundy jersey, and an all-black set with various gold numbers and stripes.

Commanders meaning explained

Many fans were confused about the new name, and wondered what Commanders actually means. According to Oxford Languages, a commander is ‘a person in authority, especially over a body of troops or a military operation.’

Dictionary.com defines Commanders as: ‘a person who commands…a person who exercises authority; chief officer; leader.’

Why Washington chose the name Commanders

Many wondered why the name Commanders was relevant to Washington and why the team picked it. Well, team president Jason Wright and coach Ron Rivera said the naming process wanted to incorporate the military because of its connection to the nation’s capital.

Wright clarified why the team opted for the Commanders name. “Leadership, service, and a common, unifying mission to characterize this fan base and the DMV. A mission to live up to our championship legacy and win titles in burgundy and gold,” he wrote on Twitter.

‘As an organization, we are excited to rally and rise together as one under our new identity while paying homage to our local roots and what it means to represent the nation’s capital,’ team owner Dan Snyder added.

‘As we kick off our 90th season, it is important for our organization and fans to pay tribute to our past traditions, history, legacy and the greats that came before us. We continue to honor and represent the Burgundy and Gold while forging a pathway to a new era in Washington.’

Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann also weighed in on the new name, saying it represents, in part, “the leadership quality we see in the organization as we go forward.”

“I like the name Commanders,” he added. “It has a ring to it. It has a sense of authority to it.”

So with ideas like leadership and authority, combined with Washington’s military history, it becomes a little clearer as to why they went with Commanders.

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Reaction to the new name has been mixed

Reactions to the new name and look have been mixed, with many taking to Twitter to share their thoughts. One person said: ‘No, I’m not blown away by the Commanders, but let’s be honest, this is America in 2022. People were going to hate whatever name Washington picked because that’s what people do.’ 

Here’s some of the other reactions.

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.