Washington D.C.’s NFL franchise will retire its old name, “Redskins,” which is widely considered to be racist towards Native Americans, and announce a new name at a later date.
Reports of the announcement emerged Sunday night in outlets like The Washington Post and ESPN, before the franchise shared its official statement Monday morning. The decision comes after the franchise announced at the beginning of July that, “In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community… the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.”
On Monday, the franchise said, “Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review. [Owner] Dan Snyder and 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.”
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) July 13, 2020
It’s unclear when the new team name will be announced, though the franchise hopes to have it settled by the start of the 2020 NFL season. While Snyder and Rivera reportedly have a top choice replacement name, it’s reportedly tied up in a trademark fight.
In a July 4th interview with The Washington Post, Rivera said there were two criteria he wanted to meet for a new name: First, that it be respectful of Native American culture and traditions, and second, that it serve as a tribute to the military and the many Native Americans that served.
The Washington NFL team has used its old name for 87 years, and despite plenty of criticism and pressure, Snyder had previously bluntly rebuffed any calls to find a new name. The about face came amid the latest wave of Black Lives Matter protests, and increased pressure from both the NFL and corporate sponsors. One of the team’s top sponsors, FedEx, said it would take its name off the team’s stadium, FedEX Field, if the name wasn’t changed, while Nike, PepsiCo and Bank of America also threatened to cut ties with the team.