Updated: The Washington Redskins revealed that the team will review its name as sponsors and fans call for a change. In a separate statement, Nike said: “We have been talking to the NFL and sharing our concerns regarding the name of the Washington team. We are pleased to see the team taking a first step towards change.”
What We Reported Earlier: The Washington Redskins are once again under fire for its controversial name. And today, fans of the NFL franchise may have trouble buying Nike fan gear.
Late Thursday, news broke of FedEx — the Washington football team’s most prominent sponsor — asking for a name change. (The team’s stadium is FedEx Field.) “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx said in a statement.
This request comes amid changes at Washington, including the franchise’s decision to remove the name of founder George Preston Marshall from team materials and he stadium’s Ring of Fame. (Aside from the controversy surrounding the name Redskins, Marshall was the last team owner in the league to have Black players.)
After the news of FedEx’s request broke, chatter surfaced on social media that Nike had pulled all Washington Redskins merchandise from its website. (Today, searches for “Redskins” yield no product results on Nike.com and searches for “Washington” pull up apparel for the MLB franchise, the Washington Nationals.) Also, Washington is not listed in the section on Nike.com where people can search all NFL merchandise by team.
With Washington yet again under fire, Twitter had a lot to say about the team’s name and the decisions of Nike and FedEx.
“This country is so racist it took filming George Floyd being murdered before FedEx and Nike realized maybe it’s not a good idea to be associated with the term ‘Redskins,'” wrote ESPN senior writer Howard Bryant (@hbryant42).
Some have demanded an immediate name change.
“The owner of the Washington @Redskins is worth $2.6 billion. He donated $1.1 million to @realDonaldTrump inauguration. He is a racist & has vowed never to change the name. @Nike has pulled all their merch & @FedEx has pulled sponsorship. The time is now: #changethename,” wrote Twitter user @davidhuckfelt.
Not all, however, are in favor of a name change.
“If the Redskins change there name what about braves, chiefs, Indians, c’mon gotta be fair around the board right? Smh,” wrote @PAYNE_21.