The Washington Post has done what the Washington Commanders should have done before picking their new name.
The Post has conducted a poll of local residents regarding the nickname that replaces Washington Football Team, the two-season placeholder used after the team abruptly dumped its prior name, finally (and properly) acknowledging that the time had come to change a name that was and is a dictionary-defined racial slur. The results show that local residents aren’t smitten with the selection.
The poll of 904 D.C. residents found that 41 percent have positive feelings about the name (five percent love it, 36 percent like it) and that 49 percent have negative feelings about the name (17 percent hate it, 32 percent dislike it). Eleven percent had no opinion.
The same poll found that 43 percent prefer “Washington Football Team,” 26 percent prefer Commanders, and 22 percent prefer the former name that was abandoned in July 2020.
The team likely will shrug at the poll. In the past, the team embraced aspects of Washington Post polls that tended to support the team’s former name.
The point is that the team should have done its own polling or conducted focus groups or otherwise gauged reaction to the name before picking it. And that the team should have done a better job of building support for the new name, which emerged from a list of eight finalists that never were narrowed to a tight list of finalists. Which meant that fans had eight different names they could develop an affinity for, before one of those names suddenly emerged as the name.
People will get used to the name. Time will pass. More fans will cycle in. And the name will be what it’s always been, and it will be accepted.
Also, if/when they win, the name will look a lot better — just like the Cincinnati and L.A. uniforms currently do, given that both teams made it to the Super Bowl.