Commanders coach Dan Quinn addresses his throwback shirt featuring headdress feathers: 'A great lesson'

Dan Quinn turned heads last week when he wore a T-shirt emblazoned with a callback to the retired Washington football logo featuring headdress feathers.

On Tuesday, the first-year Commanders head coach discussed the decision to wear the shirt while speaking with media.

"I think one of the parts of me taking this job, I was excited to bridge the past and the present — what a cool privilege that is to do," Quinn said. "I also recognized there's a lot of layers to that.

"So, it was a great lesson for me. What I really hate is that any attention that would have taken away from these rookies and this awesome crew. Nobody wants to do that. But, great lesson."

Quinn wore the shirt during a media appearance at the team's rookie minicamp Saturday. It featured the "W" of the contemporary logo with Native American headdress feathers from the abandoned logo hanging off the "W."

In 2020, the franchise abandoned its former logo and moniker that were long criticized as racist toward Native Americans. The former nickname is defined as a slur, and the retired logo featured the profile of a Native American surrounded by a circle with headdress feathers hanging off the circle.

The feathers on Quinn's shirt are a replica of the feathers from the former logo. The shirt was clearly not licensed by the team or the NFL.

Since abandoning the former branding, the franchise has gone through two name changes, settling on "Commanders" in 2022. It's also undergone an ownership change with longtime owner Dan Snyder selling the team to Josh Harris in 2023.

The ownership change has launched speculation that the franchise could consider switching back to the former branding. Harris, minority owner Magic Johnson and others within the franchise have used the former nickname publicly, fueling that speculation.

Harris has since shot down the idea.

"There was a portion of our fanbase that felt disrespected by the former name," Harris told the Washington Post in September 2023 "Sports are supposed to bring people together and not be a distraction. I don't want distractions. ... I thought it was important that we end the conversation."

Quinn's decision to wear the shirt in his official capacity as Washington's coach re-ignited speculation that maybe a change to the old name actually hadn't been ruled out. The franchise declined comment to multiple media outlets prior to Quinn's statement on Tuesday.

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