Washington’s NFL team will get rid of the name ‘Redskins’ on Monday, according to multiple reports, officially distancing themselves from a mascot that’s been called a “dictionary-defined racial slur” by experts and advocates.
It’s unclear when a new name will be revealed for one of the league’s oldest franchises.
Sports Business Daily, which first reported Monday’s official announcement, reported that the new name would not be announced yet because trademark issues are pending. The report that majority owner Daniel Snyder was set to “retire” the nickname was subsequently confirmed by USA Tpday, ESPN and the Washington Post.
Snyder announced in a 3 July statement that his team was launching a “thorough review” of the 87-year-old nickname that the NFL supported. That came in the aftermath of prominent sponsors FedEx, Nike, PepsiCo and Bank of America asking the team to change the name.
Until that corporate pressure, Snyder had shown no indications he would change the name since buying the team in 1999.
FedEx is the title sponsor of the team’s stadium in Landover, Maryland, and CEO Frederick Smith is a minority owner. Nike and other companies pulled team gear from their online stores.
Over a dozen Native American leaders and organizations wrote to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last week demanding an immediate end to Washington’s use of the name. In the letter that was obtained by the Associated Press, they said they “expect the NFL to engage in a robust, meaningful reconciliation process with Native American movement leaders, tribes, and organizations to repair the decades of emotional violence and other serious harms this racist team name has caused to Native Peoples”.
Last month, the team removed the name of racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame at FedEx Field, and a monument to him was removed from the site of the old RFK Stadium.
Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser also said the name was an “obstacle” to the team returning to the District. The team’s lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and it is still talking to Washington, Virginia and Maryland about building a new stadium.
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