Magic Johnson won’t rule out renaming Commanders
NBC's Today also asks new co-owner about team leaving Va. HQ
Could the Washington Commanders get a new name?
“Everything is on the table, right? Especially after the last year,” the former Los Angeles Lakers star point guard said. “We will see [where] we are with the name. But I can’t say that right now.” Later in the interview, he added, “The name of the team will come up eventually.”
Asked about whether the team, which has its headquarters in Loudoun County and plays home games at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, could relocate to Washington, D.C., Johnson declined to answer, saying, “We’re going to spend this year understanding what we have in place.”
Amid controversy with past team owner Dan Snyder, Virginia’s General Assembly tabled a 2022 incentive bill aimed at helping the Commanders build a new stadium and headquarters in Woodbridge. Virginia lawmakers are said to be open to working with the team’s new owners to bring the Commanders stadium to the commonwealth after the team’s FedEx Field lease runs out in 2027.
Johnson is a partner in a team of investors led by Maryland billionaire Josh Harris that purchased the Commanders for a record $6.05 billion from Snyder, after NFL owners unanimously approved the deal Thursday. Harris is now managing partner and majority owner of the Commanders, the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils through his company Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment LLC (HBSE).
During the “Today” interview, Johnson also commented on how the new management would differ from Snyder, who received a $60 million fine from the NFL Thursday following a league investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, a toxic workplace culture and deliberate underreporting of revenue.
“First of all,” Johnson said, “you have to let the employees know that you respect them and that it will be a safe place to work, and we want you to have a winning attitude too. … If we respect them, they will respect us and go to the wall for us.”