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Washington Football Team bans Native American-inspired headdresses, face paint at FedEx Field

The Washington Football Team intends for FedEx Field to be at full capacity this season, but fans will not be allowed to wear Native American-inspired headdresses or face paint. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)
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When the Washington Football Team welcomes fans back to FedEx Field this season, Native American-inspired headdresses and face paint will be prohibited.

The team, which issued its 2021 stadium policies and protocols Wednesday, announced in the spring that it intends to be at full capacity for games this year, after a 2020 season in which Washington’s home games were played either without fans or with very few fans in attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the last time FedEx Field was open to all fans, the team had a different name. As part of its rebranding, the team has made a clean break from Native American imagery and has even ruled out Warriors as a candidate for its new name, which is set to be revealed in early 2022.

“We recognize that not everyone is in favor of this change,” team president Jason Wright said in July. “And even the Native American community offers a range of opinions about both our past and path forward. But in these moments, it is important to prioritize the views of those who have been hurt by our historical use of Native American language, iconography and imagery. …

“We will choose an identity that unequivocally departs from any use of or approximate linkage to Native American imagery.”

As part of its updated protocols, the team is also recommending but not mandating the use of face masks inside the stadium for unvaccinated guests.

Because of the rising rate of infection and the spread of the delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidelines in late July and urged Americans, vaccinated or not, to wear masks in indoor public spaces in covid-19 hot spots.

Maryland is one of the most vaccinated states, with 77.8 percent of adults having received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Wednesday.

The team warned that its policies could change with updated local regulations, and reminded that fans cannot come within 20 feet of players.

Washington will return to FedEx Field on Friday for an evening practice dubbed “Friday Night Football” that will be open to more than 20,000 fans.

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