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Washington will seek input from players, alumni, fans, sponsors

Washington opens at No. 32 in the PFT Preseason Power Rankings after sexual harassment allegations were made public and the franchise's toxic culture was exposed.

Social media was torn on Washington’s Thursday announcement, delaying its decision to rename the team. The team will play 2020 as the Washington Football Team.

The team will seek input from players, alumni, fans, sponsors and the community before deciding, John Keim of ESPN reports.

The franchise’s new executive vice president and chief marketing officer explained a decision that big takes time.

“You’re doing a rebranding process that correctly takes 12 to 18 months. If you want to do it right, you have to take a deep breath, take a step back and go through the process,” said Terry Bateman, whom Washington recently hired. “We want to do it right. We want something thoughtful and inclusive and smart and bring a lot of points of views into this and come out the other side with something everyone is proud of and can rally behind.

“It feels organic and natural to do this. I love the look of what we’ve done. It’s really strong. I like the logo and the uniforms and the colors. . . . There’s a tremendous amount of work to do for the next 50 days to do all this. It’s a tremendous amount of work to go through this. The new will go up and the old will go down.”

The team retired its old name 10 days ago after 87 years. It decided against rushing to get a new one in the next 50 days, by the Sept. 13 regular-season opener.

Keim asked Bateman if team officials ever got close to a new name.

“You can argue what close is. Everyone’s got a different opinion. The conversations have been, ‘This is great, I like this one. No, I don’t like that,’” Bateman said. “There are a number of names people like. I probably had a thousand names submitted. I’m getting long letters why one name is the right name for us. It’s funny, and it’s fun. It’s interesting. Everyone has an opinion. My wife has a strong opinion. My kids have an opinion. A lot have an idea, but it’s much bigger than that. Even if we had the name 100 percent locked in, to physically get it done before the football season starts would be between hard and impossible.”

The team does not have a deadline for a new team name, Bateman said, but it would seem likely it would unveil the new name sometime next spring. That would give Washington plenty of time for rebranding before the start of the 2021 season.