Washington’s NFL team has announced today its plan to part ways with its controversial name.
The Redskins name, which has been the organization’s moniker since 1933, has long stirred up criticism for the franchise and has been denounced by Native American groups as an ethnic slur for decades.
The change comes after increased pressures from sponsors such as Nike and Fedex.
On July 2, Fedex, the football team’s most prominent sponsor, asked for a name change and said it would pull its own name from stadium signage following the 2020 NFL season if the team would not agree.
Nike also made similar demands earlier this month. 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” and “Washington” yield no product results on Nike.com.) Also, Washington is not listed in the section on Nike.com where people can search all NFL merchandise by team.
Shortly after sponsors and fans called for an immediate change, the Washington Redskins revealed that the team would review its name as of July 3. In a separate statement, Nike said at the time: “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.”
Now, the Redskins confirmed in a statement that it will drop its name and logo after completion of a thorough review. Team owner Daniel Snyder and head coach Ron Rivera “are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years,” the statement continued.
The new name or logo has not been announced.
Aside from the controversy surrounding the name Redskins, Washington has come under fire for its racist history in the midst of racial tension in the U.S. following the death of George Floyd. In June, the franchise made the decision to remove the name of founder George Preston Marshall from team materials and from the stadium’s Ring of Fame, renaming the lower bowl at FedEx Field for the team’s first Black player, late Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell. Marshall, a segregationist, was the last team owner in the league to have Black players.