The Washington Commanders: New team name, new management and a new culture
Washington’s football team has history: Classic battles. Big wins, tough losses. And championships — five, to be exact. But every endeavor that refuses to change eventually fails. That is an ethos we have embraced, not only in the front office but in every corner of our operations.
Eighteen months ago, we decided to drop the name “Redskins” from the NFL franchise representing our nation’s capital. With eight decades of history and identity invested in the name, this decision did not come easily. But, eventually, we recognized that too many felt the name and mascot were offensive, and thus we made the change. At a time when national unity seems difficult to achieve, we saw a name change as an opportunity to bring our fans together rather than keep us divided. This week, we unveiled the team’s new name, the Commanders.
Even more important than the team’s name, we have changed the culture of our organization. After we learned of reports of misconduct among certain members of our management team, we began an extensive independent investigation, which lasted nearly a year.
Even before the investigation was concluded, on our own, the team’s owners decided to replace most of our senior managers. We brought in new people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. And we made clear to every employee — new and old — that sexism, misogyny and a culture of fear have no place in our organization. We count women as an important, growing part of our employee base and our fan base, and we have zero tolerance for the way things were done in the past. Our actions over the past 18 months have backed that up.
Finally, we not only paid $10 million based on the past misconduct, which money was used to support organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying and related topics, but we fully revamped our internal processes and procedures to make sure every voice in the organization is heard.
Indeed, we have made significant changes, and the team is better for it.
The team’s ownership made mistakes — and we don’t minimize those mistakes. We have apologized numerous times to those who were affected by the unacceptable behavior that took place in the past, and we apologize again today. But we have taken steps to fix what was broken in our front office — from our team’s name to our people and, most importantly, to our corporate culture. Our franchise is now moving forward to bring another championship back to Washington, D.C.
We can’t wait to be back on the field next season as the Commanders, with our continued commitment to excellence, both on and off the field.
Tanya Snyder is the co-CEO of the Washington Commanders. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform will hear testimony today from six former team employees who have leveled accusations of misconduct against the team.
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