Following weeks of calls for action, the Washington Redskins announced they would be undergoing a “thorough review” of the team’s name.
The franchise has long been criticized for not addressing their controversial mascot and the racial stereotypes it portrays in terms of Native American peoples. Owner Dan Snyder had previously declared he would never entertain the notion of losing the Redskins name. But, one day after FedEx threatened to pull their title sponsorship, attitudes have shifted dramatically. Washington now seems destined to lose the ugly moniker.
“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 a statement.
First-year head coach Ron Rivera will work closely with the team during the process. Rivera — the son of Puerto Rican and Mexican parents — has been a fervent supporter of diversity in the league.
“This issue is of personal importance to me and 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.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter shared the news on Twitter and concluded that a new name is on the horizon. He wrote: “And let’s be clear: There’s no review if there’s no change coming. Redskins on way out.”
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NFL Commissioner Supports ‘Thorough Review’ Process
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell quickly put out his own statement in support of the possible name change to the Redskins. The league and the franchise have been engaged in talks for a few weeks now.
“In the last few weeks we have had ongoing discussions with Dan and we are supportive of this important step, Goodell wrote in a statement.
This “important step” comes on the heels of FedEx withdrawing their support for the Redskins, as well as Nike pulling all Redskins-branded merchandise from their online store. Washington mayor Murial Bowser called for a name change last week during a radio interview on The Team 980.
“I think it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people,” Bowser told the station, “and this is a great franchise with a great history that’s beloved in Washington and it deserves a name that reflects the affection that we’ve built for the team.”
As mentioned above, the decision is a marked change of heart for Snyder and the organization. In 2013, Snyder unequivocally told USA Today that he would never change the name. Not in a million years.
“We’ll never change the name,” Snyder said at the time. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
Washington recently announced they were removing a statue of team founder George Preston Marshall, along with other materials bearing his name, because he was a vocal supporter of racial segregation. Marshall was the person responsible for bestowing the controversial Redskins name to the franchise in 1933.