It’s been very rough for the franchise now known as the Washington Football Team during the last few months. The team formerly known as the Washington Redskins is now without a name. In the last few weeks, sexual harassment allegations arose. Now more has come to light as a report came out this week, alleging that a lewd video of the cheerleaders had been made for team owner Daniel Snyder. Newly appointed team president Jason Wright addressed the latest incident and is taking a no-nonsense approach.
How it all began
Daniel Snyder once said the Redskins nickname was there to stay. He stressed he would never change the football team’s nickname by saying, “NEVER — you can use caps.” After the death of George Floyd on May 25, everything changed. Racial inequality was exposed and Snyder was pressured into changing the name.
When major sponsors, including Fedex, the company that owns the naming rights to the football stadium, threatened financial repercussions, Snyder rethought things. Nike, Pepsi, and Amazon followed suit with financial implications and Snyder pulled the nickname that was perceived by many as racial.
The Redskins then ran into a trademark issue as a Virginia man named Philip Martin McCaulay trademarked many of the potential replacements for Snyder’s team. The team has been in a holding pattern and will be referred to as The Washington Football Team until further notice.
Things get much worse for the Washington Football Team
In mid-July, The Washington Post came out with a story that shook the sports world. Fifteen former female employees of the Washington team told the newspaper that they had been sexually harassed and verbally abused. Several high-ranking employees were dismissed and others left on their own amid the accusations.
“It was the most miserable experience of my life,” Emily Applegate, now 31, told The Washington Post regarding her year working as a marketing coordinator for the club. “And we all tolerated it because we knew if we complained — and they reminded us of this — there were 1,000 people out there who would take our job in a heartbeat.”
The newspaper came out with another shocking story Wednesday. It alleged that while cheerleaders were shooting a video for the team’s swimsuit calendar years ago, lewd outtakes were taken. It happened when the cheerleaders were removing well-placed props to hide their bare breasts. A video of those moments was put together allegedly for team owner Daniel Snyder. Snyder, in a statement, denied it happened. “I do not have any knowledge of the ten-year-old videos referenced in the story. I did not request their creation and I never saw them,” he said.
New team president Jason Wright ready to change the culture
The Washington Football Team clearly needed new leadership. Dan Snyder recently hired Jason Wright, the NFL’s first Black team president. Wright, a former player, is determined to change the culture of a team embroiled in controversy. In a tweet from Wednesday, Wright responded to the recent allegations and was adamant that a change is coming.
“I’ve spent the day talking to our @WashingtonNFL family,” Wright tweeted. “We are all feeling weighed down by the hard to read accounts. We are now setting a new culture, we will take swift and decisive action, and we will lift the heaviness my colleagues are feeling today. Our journey starts now.”
When Wright was hired, he used his time as a football player and related it to how he hopes to run the Washington Football Team. “When I was a third-down back, I wasn’t worried about what the left tackle was doing,” he said to ESPN. “I trusted him to do his job, and I do my job. I want to set that norm for us on the business side as well, where we have people that are trusted to where we really believe in the folks working alongside us. Make sure they have the tools to succeed, but then let them fly.”