The possibilities for a new name are endless, but here’s what we know so far: The team is not expected to use Native American imagery going forward, according to a person familiar with the deliberations of the team and the NFL, and it remains a possibility that the team will retain its burgundy-and-gold color scheme.
Two people with knowledge of the team’s plans said Sunday that the organization’s preferred replacement name is tied up in a trademark issue, which is why the team couldn’t announce the new name Monday, but that doesn’t necessarily narrow down the list of contenders. There are trademark issues to resolve with almost any new name, including with squatters who own the trademark registrations for several potential monikers, and established entities already using other names that could be under consideration.
Here is what we know about the names that have drawn the most attention among fans and social media users:
Red Wolves gains traction
Perhaps no replacement name has garnered more support among the fan base since the team announced its review than Red Wolves (or Redwolves). With former Washington cornerback Fred Smoot among the name’s most vocal — awooooo — supporters, Red Wolves garnered 50 percent of the vote in The Washington Post’s nonscientific reader poll of nine potential replacement names last week.
“That would be hype, bro,” defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, who endorsed the name with quarterback Dwayne Haskins and Redskins superfan and NBA superstar Kevin Durant, said during a Twitch stream last week.
The name has a military tie-in, too, which could appeal to Snyder and Rivera. “Red Wolves” was the nickname of HSC-84, a helicopter sea combat squadron of the U.S. Navy Reserve that was disestablished in 2016. Designated an endangered species in 1967, red wolves are real creatures that roam eastern North Carolina.
There are other Red Wolves in the sports world. Arkansas State changed the name of its athletic teams from Indians to Red Wolves in 2008 and is in the midst of a trademark battle with Chattanooga Red Wolves SC of the United Soccer League over use of the mark.
Red Tails would be an honor, Tuskegee Airmen say
Haskins has also indicated he is a fan of Red Tails (or Redtails), a name rooted in history. The name would celebrate the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation’s first African American aerial combat unit, who broke the color barrier during World War II while flying P-51 Mustangs painted with red tails.
In a statement, Tuskegee Airmen Inc., an Alabama-based nonprofit dedicated to preserving the accomplishments of the more than 16,000 African Americans who participated in or supported the Army Air Corps during World War II, said it would be “honored and pleased” to work with the team if it adopted Red Tails as its new name. The organization said the name “would honor the Tuskegee Airmen legacy and be symbolic for all America.”
Like Redwolves, Red Tails would allow fans of the team to keep using the “HTTR” slogan. What do the Tuskegee Airmen have to do with D.C.? About as much as Redwolves or Redskins.
Warriors might not be a winner
Given Snyder’s documented affinity for the name — it’s what he planned to call the Arena Football League franchise he purchased expansion rights for in 1999 — Warriors was considered one of the leading contenders from the outset of the team’s review.
Social media posts and polls aren’t always the best barometer, but Warriors hasn’t seemed to generate as much support as either of the names mentioned above. Then again, Snyder has given no indication that he plans to factor fan opinion into the new name. Trademark-wise, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors could present an issue, with a coexistence agreement the most likely solution should Snyder decide to go with the alliterative pick.
The name could end up as something else entirely
Pigskins? Hogs? Monuments? Justice? Freedom? Heck, Ocelots? There’s a chance the team picks a name that hasn’t been floated and debated by fans and media members alike over the past two weeks.