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Washington NFL team becomes the Commanders

Washington has revealed its famous NFL team will now be called the Commanders following a lengthy review on how best to replace an original name that was widely seen as a racial slur against Native Americans.

The team, amid calls for racial justice and a threatened loss of sponsors, dropped their longstanding previous name Redskins in mid-2020 following a years-long campaign from critics.

The new name was unveiled on Wednesday after the Washington franchise committed to avoiding Native American imagery in its rebrand following two seasons as the Washington Football Team.

“As an organisation, 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,” owner Dan Snyder said.

“As we kick off our 90th season, it is important for our organisation and fans to pay tribute to our past traditions, history, legacy and the greats that came before us.

“We continue to honour and represent the Burgundy and Gold while forging a pathway to a new era in Washington.”

Washington join Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians among North American major professional sports teams abandoning names linked to Native Americans.

The NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and baseball’s Atlanta Braves have said they are not planning to make a similar change.

As the Commanders, Washington keeps the same burgundy and gold colours that were around for the three Super Bowl championships in the 1980s and early ’90s glory days.

It follows the desire of team president Jason Wright and coach Ron Rivera for the new name to have a connection to the US military.

Commanders was chosen over other finalists such as Red Hogs, Admirals and Presidents.

Red Wolves, an initial fan favourite, was ruled out earlier in the process because of copyright and trademark hurdles.

The rebranding process had been going on since the summer of 2020, when team officials opted for the temporary Washington Football Team name that lingered into the 2021 season.

The change comes amid the organisation’s latest controversy: dozens of former employees describing a toxic workplace culture, which caused Snyder to commission an investigation that was taken over by the NFL.

After the investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson’s firm, the league fined Washington $US10 million ($A14 million) and Snyder temporarily ceded day-to-day operations of the team to his wife, Tanya, while he focused on a new stadium agreement.

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