RFK Stadium Site Blocked?, Possible Future Home of Washington Commanders Threatened

Washington D.C. is hoping to secure a lease for the site of RFK Stadium to potential house the Washington Commanders, but that possibility is being threatened.
Oct 22, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Fan tailgate outside Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium prior to
Oct 22, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Fan tailgate outside Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium prior to / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

The Washington Commanders haven't had much go right for them since leaving RFK Stadium in the late 1990s to play at what was until this year known as FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

On top of losing seasons and ownership scandals the name Commanders alone has become one more bullet point in a slowed but not yet halted lists of dramatics tied to the organization.

READ MORE: A New Feel to Washington Commanders Practice

Managing partner Josh Harris is doing everything he can to return Washington to the glory he grew up a fan of, including the potential that his franchise may return to the RFK Stadium site in the relatively near future.

That is a possiblity now being threatened because of a decision to move on from a classic logo and moniker that Harris had nothing to do with, nor had any power to stop.

"Montana Sen. Steve Daines (R) intends to block legislation that would give the District greater control over the RFK Stadium site until the Washington Commanders honor a Native American family that helped design the team’s former logo," The Washington Posts' Sam Fortier reported Monday evening. This came after the newspaper received a prepared message demanding, “that the new team leadership and the NFL sit down with the Wetzel family, sit down with the Blackfeet [Nation], sit down with tribal leaders, and find a way to properly honor the history of the logo and heritage of our tribal nations, and to rededicate the organization as an advocate for Indian Country.”

Oct 22, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Fan tailgate outside Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium prior to
Oct 22, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Fan tailgate outside Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium prior to / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The D.C. RFK Memorial Stadium Campus Revitalization Act was passed in the House by a large margin in February and needs to pass through the Senate before D.C. could make any sort of plans on how to develop the land, including the possibility of a new sports stadium.

Originally called the "Redskins", the most well-known logo worn by Washington was created in part by Walter 'Blackie' Wetzel and other members of the Blackfeet tribe and depicted the profile of an Indian warrior.

The name and logo both became central parts of debates over the years and both were eventually dropped in 2020 in favor of the 'Washington Football Team' name the organization went by until 2023 when the Commanders unveiled their new name and logo.


Team officials met with a member of Wetzel's family on Monday afternoon and issued a statement saying, “We have spoken directly with the Wetzel family and are working collaboratively to recognize Blackie Wetzel for his contributions in creating our former logo.”

READ MORE: New OC Kliff Kingsbury Already Making His Mark in Washington

There are no reported specifics as to how the Senator expects the team to approach the matter, but the report did state that Wetzel's grandson is hopeful a throwback uniform arragement can be made.

Meanwhile, the prepared statement shared with The Washington Post specified the Senator is “NOT calling for the return of the former team name which has become increasingly controversial, especially in Indian Country.”

For more details and the full report, click here.


Stick with CommanderGameday and the Locked On Commanders podcast for more coverage of the Washington Commanders throughout the 2024 season.


Published
David Harrison

DAVID HARRISON

David Harrison has covered the NFL since 2015 as a digital content creator in both written and audio media. He is the host of Locked On Commanders and a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. His previous career was as a Military Working Dog Handler for the United States Army. Contact David via email at david.w.harrison82@gmail.com or on Twitter @DHarrison82.