The Washington Redskins are taking a hard look at their team name amid increasing pressure from major sponsors, Native American groups and others.
“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,” the team said in a statement posted on Twitter. “This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.” You can read the full statement below the story.
Team owner Dan Snyder has previously said that he would never change the team’s name, but he has come under mounting financial and political pressure given the national conversation on racism and human rights following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“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,” Snyder said in the statement.
The team’s statement Friday came after Snyder was informed by federal officials Thursday that he must change the team’s name if he wants to relocate to the site of RFK Stadium. Later in the day, FedEx, the title sponsor of the Redskins’ stadium in Landover, Maryland, released a formal statement indicating that it had asked “the team in Washington” for a name change. FedEx has naming rights to the team’s stadium under a $205 million deal that runs until 2025.
Adweek also has reported that sponsors Nike and PepsiCo are under pressure to sever ties with the team unless it changes its name.
The Redskins’ name controversy is nothing new. Native Americans have been questioning the use of the team name and image since the 1960s, while the issue has received increasing public attention since the 1990s. The franchise has had the name Redskins since its second season in 1933, when it still played in Boston. Snyder bought the team in 1999 for $750 million.