The 87-year-old name changes as of amounting sponsorship pressures
By Trent Sell
The Washington Redskins will ‘retire’ the name “Redskins” due to it being racially offensive towards Native Americans.
“long overdue but nonetheless welcome.”
The football team’s owner, Daniel Synder, has been taking the heat over this ongoing debate. He has fought the name change for the past two decades, despite protests and advocacy for the team’s re-naming.
Amidst ongoing outside pressure, a nationwide movement for racial equality, and their internal reviewing of the name, the team officially announced the retirement of the Washington “Redskins” name. The news came Monday morning.
Critics of the name were happy to see the tides finally turn on this debate. U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) said, “long overdue but nonetheless welcome,” applauding the team’s announcement. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives, responded to the potential of moving the team’s stadium now that the name has been retired.
The team’s move “reflects the present climate of intolerance to names, statues, figments of our past that are racist in nature or otherwise imply racism [and] are no longer tolerated,” said Norton.
Sponsors pressure for name change
Fed-Ex, one of the teams’ biggest sponsors, released a statement on July 2, asking for the name change. A letter to the team’s lawyers noted a termination to their contract and not paying the contract’s remaining $45 million if Snyder didn’t take action. Similar demands from sponsors like PepsiCo, Nike, and Bank of America, followed shortly after.
As of now, a new name has not yet been chosen. On a July 4th interview, the day after the team started their name review process, Coach Ron Riveria hoped the name would be in place by the start of the 2020 season. Other sources said it would be released within two weeks of the review process. Talks about trademark issues would explain why they weren’t able to announce the replacement name on Monday.
Regardless, Ron Riveria and Daniel Synder have been working closely to choose the new name and logo. A statement from that July 4th interview read that both “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.”