Ron Rivera: Washington NFL team ‘not close’ on new name, process will take 16-18 months

Coach Ron Rivera said Friday that Washington's NFL team is "not close" to choosing a new permanent name and logo.

In an interview with "CBS This Morning," Rivera said the rebranding process will likely take 16 to 18 months, which means the team could likely remain nameless at the start of the 2021 season, in addition to the entirety of 2020.

The franchise announced Thursday that it will call itself the "Washington Football Team" in the interim after dropping its old name, "Redskins," which had long been criticized as racist.

"The biggest thing that we've learned is that this is going to take steps," Rivera told CBS. "This can't happen automatically. We're going to have to go through the process. … Truthfully, this is going to be about a 16- to 18-month process, to do it the right way and really not miss the opportunity to rebrand ourselves — hopefully for the next 100 years."

[email protected] Football Team Head Coach Ron Rivera tells @GayleKing the team is “not close to making a decision” on a permanent name.

“The biggest thing that we’ve learned is that this is going to take steps. This can’t happen automatically.” pic.twitter.com/n2T9ZMmltq

Rivera said the franchise had learned that the rebranding process is "going to be a little bit harder than we anticipated," which led to the placeholder name announced Thursday. The team will wear new jerseys this season that just say "Washington," and the old logo on their helmets will be replaced by decals of players' jersey numbers.

While the permanent rebranding process is still in its infancy, Rivera said some decisions have already been made. The team will keep its burgundy and gold color scheme, for example, to provide a sense of continuity from the old team name and logo to the new, according to Rivera.

"There's so much tradition and history with this football team, that to change the colors would kind of distract from what this team has done in terms of its past history with the championships that it's won," Rivera said.

Sep 22, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

The Washington Football Team previously spent 87 years as the "Redskins," despite decadeslong criticism from many Native Americans and activists. The franchise decided to initiate a review of the name earlier this month, under mounting pressure from sponsors, and announced last week that it would be dropping its old moniker.

Washington's rebranding comes at a tumultuous time for the franchise. The team fired its head coach, Jay Gruden, and team president, Bruce Allen, amid a 3-13 season last year. Then, last week, the franchise hired a Washington law firm to investigate its organizational culture after 15 women told The Washington Post that they were sexually harassed while working for the club between 2006 and 2019.

Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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