Josh Harris didn’t want the ‘distraction’ of the old name hovering over this season

The Washington Commanders kick off the 2023 NFL season against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. On Friday, new owner Josh Harris said he looked at this game like hosting a party for 60,000 people.

FedEx Field will be a party-like atmosphere for the home opener. The game is sold out, and several former Washington legends will attend. Ahead of Sunday’s game, Harris spoke at the Commanders season kickoff party and rallied fans, encouraging them to be loud.

One of the topics of conversation since Harris took over in July was the name. Harris was noncommital when asked, often saying it didn’t matter what he thought of the name; it was what the fans thought. Harris and some of his partners mentioned the old name when discussing their fandom as kids growing up rooting for the then-Redskins. That led to speculation that the old name could be in play again.

Harris’ partner, Magic Johnson, interviewed with the TODAY Show in July and said, “Everything is on the table” when asked about the name.

So after some speculation on social media that the team could change the name, perhaps to the old one, team president Jason Wright put an end to that. It wasn’t even a consideration, Wright said.

Last week, another of Harris’ partners, Mitchell Rales, said the “ship has sailed” regarding the old name.

In speaking to Scott Abraham of ABC 7 News in Washington, D.C., Harris himself put an end to the speculation:

“Hey look, I grew up in the glory years, and I remember the team from that era and worshipped it,” Harris said. “But the old name felt, some of our fans disrespected by it. And sports is supposed to unify people. I didn’t want the distraction. So we came out, and we, hopefully, ended that conversation and got the focus back on football, where it should be.”

Regardless of where you stand on the name debate, you aren’t right or wrong. Some fans want the name back; others who loved the name and remember the glory years just want to move forward. No one is wrong, but the focus should be on the current team.

Kudos to Harris here. Whether he likes the current name or not, Harris wants all the distractions gone. Let’s focus on the season. A name change is on the table for Washington, but it’s not happening this season, and the name will not go back to the old name.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire