One of the earliest teams of the National football League (NFL), Washington Redskins, are undergoing a review of their controversial name, the team announced in a statement on Friday. FedEx, the title sponsor of the team’s stadium, has asked the team to change their name.
What We Know:
- The request from FedEx to the NFL team comes amid weeks of pressure for companies and cities to cut ties with brands, monuments and emblems linked to racism. The term “redskin” is considered a slur against Native Americans.
- “In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name,” reads the statement. “This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.”
- Nike and Pepsi are among companies who have received pressure to end their business relationship with Washington until the team changes its name. A Thursday night search on Nike.com for “Redskins” generated no results. Searches for other NFL teams’ gear worked as previously.
Further Nike context: Here are https://t.co/Lf4sbwb78g search results for Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles, Giants pic.twitter.com/Zah6gdjCjz
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) July 3, 2020
- Ron Rivera, who Washington hired as head coach in January, stated the issue was of personal importance to him. “I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our military,” said Rivera, one of four NFL head coaches of color.
- Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has previously resisted changing the name, citing tradition and legacy as reasons for keeping the name. On Friday, he said: “This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field.”
- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in his own statement that the league has had “ongoing discussions” with Snyder about the name over the last few weeks. “We are supportive of this important step,” he said.
It is unfortunate this step took this long to reach, but we are glad to have reached it and we will provide updates as they are made available.