Magic Johnson Is Now an NFL Owner, May Change the Name of Team: ‘Everything’s on the Table’

If there were three things Earvin “Magic” Johnson was most known for while on the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers, they were the following:
  • Championships.
  • Elite passing.
  • Infectious positivity.
If there is any fan base in pro football that needs a jolt of all three of those things almost as much as it needs air, it’s the fans of the moribund and inept Washington Commanders. In a curious twist, those two very different things — a veritable NBA legend and a bottom-tier NFL franchise — are headed for a collision course after an ownership group that includes Johnson successfully purchased the Commanders from the beleaguered Dan Snyder. The sale was made official Thursday. Johnson has a minority stake in the team, while Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris headlines the new ownership group purchasing the Commanders. To commemorate that sale, Craig Melvin of NBC’s “Today” show interviewed Johnson about a myriad of topics pertaining to his new NFL franchise. One such topic: Will the team formerly known as the Redskins change their name again after just changing to the Commanders in February 2022? (The franchise was also known as the Washington Football Team for two years in an odd transition phase, so a Johnson-led name-change would effectively be the third major rebrand in just a few years.) While Johnson was a bit coy on the topic, he did not outright deny the possibility — which would have been the far easier proposition if the plan were, in fact, to stay the course. “Craig, everything’s on the table, right? Especially after this year. We will see where we are with the name, but I can’t say that right now,” he said. The longtime NBA point guard reiterated that, at least for a year, the new ownership group wants to observe first and act later. “We’re going spend this year understanding what we have in place,” Johnson told “Today.” “And then I’m sure that that’ll come up. The Commanders, the name of the team, will come up eventually. But right now we got enough work to do and that will keep us busy.”
Now, this is hardly the first time that a new ownership group — featuring Johnson and his iconic smile — has taken over a sports franchise. He has varying degrees of ownership in MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, MLS’ Los Angeles FC and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. In all three of those instances, there were no particularly drastic moves made post-ownership change and certainly no moves as drastic as a name change. That being said, none of those three teams was under the intense scrutiny that the Commanders are. Whatever you may think of MLB, MLS or the WNBA, the NFL is in a totally different stratosphere as far as popularity goes. The Commanders, for as bad as they’ve been since winning a Super Bowl in 1991, have legions of diehard fans. Those fans and that extra-scrutinizing microscope are going to be watching every move Johnson and the new ownership group make. When a new co-owner says “everything’s on the table” regarding an NFL team, people are going to listen and watch. And when “everything’s on the table” regarding one of the most tortured, controversial and polarizing franchises in the NFL, by word of Magic Johnson? Even casual NFL fans will likely keep abreast of what’s going on with the Commanders for at least the next couple of years. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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