The NFL team in Washington D.C. will finally drop the word “Redskins” from its name, reversing decades of refusal from team ownership amid criticism dating back to the 1960s.
Citing three unnamed individuals within the organization, the Washington Post reported Sunday that the team will announce on Monday that it will retire the name, though a new name will be announced at a later date. And according to Sports Business Journal, which first reported the story, the delay in announcing a new name is related to trademark issues that need to be resolved.
The term “Redskin” is considered by many to be a racial slur that disparages Native Americans.
The team formally began the renaming process on July 3, following a request from its largest corporate sponsor, FedEx, whose name adorns its stadium. FedEx added that if the team did not change its name, it would remove its signage from the stadium after this coming season, according to the Washington Post. Along with FedEx, a group of investors worth more than $600 billion wrote letters to Nike and PepsiCo to encourage them to pressure the team to change its name. Nike removed all “Redskins” merchandise from its online store.
Criticism of the team’s nickname has swelled for years; the franchise and its owner Daniel Snyder have resisted changing the name however up until this point. In the middle of the 2013 season, Bob Costas said the name was both an insult and a slur during halftime of the team’s “Sunday Night Football” game against the Dallas Cowboys. That following season, multiple TV broadcasters and reporters who covered the NFL stopped using the name. In the last few years, however, the outcry over the team’s name had receded from public view.
That outcry returned in a big way over the last few months, following the protests against systemic racism that were sparked by the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The incident and the nationwide movement that has followed has forced a re-examination of cultural sensitivities.
The franchise began as the Boston Braves in 1932, before changing its name to the Redskins in 1933. It moved to the nation’s capital in 1937.