After years of controversy, the Washington Redskins have announced they’ll be conducting a “thorough review” around changing their name at the bequest of sponsors and politicians.
The NFL team came under fire several years ago after organizations branded their name “racist” and offensive to Native Americans, claiming the phrase “Redskins” was a derogatory term for their people. The Washington Redskins have operated under that name since 1933.
Their name is once again under scrutiny after the Washington Redskins expressed interest in moving back to Washington D.C. from their current home at the FedEx Field in Maryland. According to NBC Sports, “the Redskins have expressed interest in playing on the grounds of RFK after a bill was introduced in 2019 calling for the federal government to sell the area to the city. However, the bill won’t pass through Congress unless the land is used for the team under a different name.”
“I call on Dan Snyder once again to face that reality, since he does still desperately want to be in the nation’s capital,” D.C.’s nonvoting House Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton said according to Fox. “He has got a problem he can’t get around — and he particularly can’t get around it today, after the George Floyd killing.”
D.C.’s Deputy Mayor agreed with the sentiment, saying “there is no viable path, locally or federally, for the Washington football team to return to Washington, D.C., without first changing the team name.”
Up until now Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins has staunchly opposed changing the name even after years of controversy, saying the name was meant to honor, not offend, Native Americans.
That is until this Friday when the team announced they will “undergo a thorough review” of their name after FedEx, their biggest sponsor, asked them to change it.
According to WTOP, Snyder said this review “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.”
PepsiCo, another major sponsor, released a statement after Snyder’s, saying they’ve “been in conversations with the NFL and Washington management for a few weeks about this issue. We believe it is time for a change. We are pleased to see the steps the team announced today, and we look forward to continued partnership.”
Bank of America and Inova, two more sponsors of the team, announced a similar request. As of Thursday, Nike removed all Redskins gear from its website.
“Snyder can stand on the right side of history and create a new, positive legacy for his team and change the name,” Joel Barkin, spokesman for the Oneida Indian Nation and the “Change the Mascot” campaign, told WTOP.
“Or, he can instead continue to embrace a bigoted slur that denigrates Native Americans and people of color. I hope he takes the first option,” Barkin said.
More and more Americans have spoken out against the NFL’s use of a “dictionary-defined racial slur” over the course of decades, he added. Beyond major Native American organizations, Barkin said, social scientists, religious leaders and elected officials have all spoken out about the name.
“There are no other groups that have this level of iconography used against them,” Barkin said. “People are coming to realize now that it’s 2020, there is no place to dehumanize … real people”WTOP
According to Daily Wire, “several name suggestions have been floating around social media over the past week, including the Washington Warriors, Washington Redtails, and Washington Redhawks.” Redhawks refers to the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII, the first all black group of fighter pilots.
Categories: U.S. News