Washington’s team is expected to retire its nickname, “Redskins,” according to multiple reports released on Sunday evening.
Sports Business Daily first reported the news and reported that the new name would not be announced yet due to pending trademark issues.
The Washington organization was spurred into action on July 2 when FedEx became the first major corporate backer of the organization to call on the team to change its name in a one-sentence statement that read, “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the name.”
According to The Washington Post, FedEx said it would remove signage from the stadium if the name was not changed for the 2021 season.
In the next 24 hours, Nike, PepsiCo, and Bank of America all expressed their belief that the name should be changed. Nike has since removed all the team’s gear from its online store. Amazon, Walmart and Target said that they would stop selling Redskins merchandise.
Also within the next day, the Washington organization announced that it would be undergoing a “thorough review” of the team’s name “in light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community.”
Washington’s logo of an Indian chief had been designed by a Native American in 1971 but has since been rejected because of its controversial heritage. The protests that have erupted around the country in response to the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have led to renewed outrage surrounding the Redskins nickname. According to ESPN, owner Dan Snyder had been discussing the name for several weeks following Floyd’s death.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last week that the franchise would not be using any Native America imagery with the new name.
Washington has faced further pressure following news that broke on July 6 that the three minority owners of the team want to withdraw their stakes. The owners, Robert Rothman, Dwight Schar, and Frederick W. Smith bought their shares back in 2003 and own a combined 40 percent of the team. Rothman is a chairman and CEO of the investment company Black Diamond Capital. Schar is a chairman of NVR Inc., the country’s fifth-largest home builder and Smith is a chairman, president, and CEO of FedEx. FedEx signed a 27-year deal for $205 million in 1998.
In the past, Snyder has been steadfast in his desire to keep the name the same. He told USA Today Sports in 2013, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER - you can use the caps.”
Never say never, Washington.