Washington Football

Washington Football

The NFL schedule is never quiet, but normally, July is at least an opportunity for teams to dial it back. Free agency and the draft are well over with and training camps have yet to commence. It's the closest thing the league has to a pause in its programming.

Washington's July, though, hasn't resembled a pause at all. If anything, the month has been part rewind, part fast forward and fully and totally chaotic.

It may also end up being regarded as the most consequential stretch in the organization's history. And yes, that includes the Super Bowl wins.

Below is a timeline meant to look back on the 15 days that have forever altered the franchise.

What started on July 1 as a rumbling quickly erupted. The short-term impact of these past few weeks is already enormous; the long-term impact, while unknown, should only grow. What's unfolded recently has been absurd, even for an operation known to feature its fair share of absurdities.

July 1

A collection of 87 shareholders and investment firms asked major companies, such as Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo, to end any relationship with the then-Redskins until they changed their name.

Together, that group of 87 was estimated to be worth more than $600 billion. With a B. 

Dan Snyder had faced plenty of outside pressure before in regards to what his team was called. This was the first signal that he was about to encounter something far more intense this time around.

 

July 2

One day later, FedEx formally asked Washington to change its name. In that same window, Nike pulled all of the team's merchandise from its website.

Those were big moves made by heavy hitters. More importantly, they were the kind of moves that couldn't be ignored or waited out. Oh, and the founder of FedEx is also a minority owner in Washington's football team.

July 3

With the external noise increasing, a press release hit reporters' inboxes and social media timelines everywhere announcing that there'd be a "thorough review" of the name.

"This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field," Snyder said in the statement.

Seeing that shift come from the man who once proclaimed he'd "never" give in on the issue hinted at just how different this process would be.

July 4

Ron Rivera told the Washington Post that he'd like the organization to rebrand before the 2020 season. 

"We want to do this in a positive way," Rivera said.

One question circulated after that quote made its way around the Internet: Would that even be possible?

July 6

Following the holiday weekend, attention turned back toward Washington on Monday. For a place accustomed to the spotlight, this still had to feel bright.

The national media all had their first chance to react to the Friday review announcement. Target and Walmart followed Nike's example and removed Burgundy and Gold merchandise from its online stores. Proposals for the next moniker began flying in from everywhere.

Not all fireworks are fired on the Fourth of July after all.

July 7-10

The rest of the week flew by and also dragged at the same time. 

Talk radio shows took countless calls from people convinced they have the best suggestion. Diehard supporters proceeded to wonder if they'll be able to root for a squad that's known by something else on the scoreboard and will wear a never-before-seen logo on its helmets. 

But an additional story also emerged: The non-Snyder owners wished to sell their stakes. At first, they reportedly aimed to get Snyder to divest. When that didn't happen, however, they chose to look for their own way out.

For now, that subplot mostly remained in the background.  

 

July 13

The old name finally is retired. Well, pretty much.

10 days after opening its review, Washington declared that its previous label and logo will be no more — in a release where that label was used on multiple occasions.

Backlash over how that decision was handled was fierce. Regardless, it was still a massive turning point in D.C. that sends ripples across the league, nation and world.

July 14 and 15

Tweets from both local and national media caused quite a stir — yet the posts had nothing to do with rumors about the name.

Instead, buzz mounted about a lurking story that was expected to come from somewhere and expose something about the team's culture. That buzz eventually morphed into all-out panic and conspiracies about what (and who) was slated to be exposed.

Warriors? Red Tails? Red Wolves? No one seemed to care about any of that anymore.

July 16

The last chapter of this saga — for now — was the Washington Post report that finally arrived. And it was scathing.

While Snyder wasn't accused by any of the 15 women in the Post's story who alleged widespread sexual misconduct in the franchise — which some outsiders expected — he still was in charge while other executives and other employees acted inapropriately. 

The story capped what was an especially hectic few hours, during which Washington hired an esteemed lawyer and the minority owners took another step toward selling. Rivera, meanwhile — who's dealt with more these past six months than many coaches run into in six years — was left to look ahead.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    

Before the 2020 calendar turned to July, the Redskins still existed. The biggest, known problem they faced was figuring out how to get a young roster ready in a pandemic. Optimism was even rising, thanks to Rivera, Dwayne Haskins and Chase Young. 

Everything is different now. Everything. They've lost their name, but that pales in comparison to what else they've lost, plus the trouble they've picked up. And all it took was 15 days.

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