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Washington Redskins to 'conduct thorough review' of team name after major sponsor FedEx called for a change and Nike dropped their merchandise from its online stores

Amid growing pressure from Native American groups, sponsors, and even the city's mayor, the Washington Redskins have announced they will conduct a 'thorough review' of the team's name, which is considered by many to be offensive. 
'In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team's name,' read the statement. 'This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.' 
Friday's statement came after the team received a formal name-change request from FedEx, which was ostensibly using its leverage as the title sponsor of the Redskins' stadium in Landover, Maryland to persuade franchise owner Daniel Snyder.  

Meanwhile, the NFL's official apparel provider, Nike, has made no statement over the matter, but silently scrapped all merchandise bearing the team's name or logo from its online store. 
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has ignored pleas from Native American groups who believe the name and logo are racist, and as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN Radio in 2018, 'I don't see him changing that perspective.' Now, however, Snyder says he is seeking input on a potential name change from team 'alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community'
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has ignored pleas from Native American groups who believe the name and logo are racist, and as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN Radio in 2018, 'I don't see him changing that perspective.' Now, however, Snyder says he is seeking input on a potential name change from team 'alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community'
Washington Redskins Nike cleat and helmet is seen on the field before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 21, 2014 in Philadelphia
Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Washington Redskins in action against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 29, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Nike is the NFL's official uniform provider and makes jerseys for all 32 league teams
FedEx is the title sponsor of the Washington Redskins' stadium in Landover, Maryland
FedEx is the title sponsor of the Washington Redskins' stadium in Landover, Maryland
FedEx's proclamation comes as Nike appeared to stage a boycott of the team, with no merchandise bearing the name or logo of the Washington franchise available to buy on its website Thursday. The team is also notably absent from the site's drop-down search menu that features all other NFL teams
FedEx's proclamation comes as Nike appeared to stage a boycott of the team, with no merchandise bearing the name or logo of the Washington franchise available to buy on its website Thursday. The team is also notably absent from the site's drop-down search menu that features all other NFL teams
Snyder has in the past remained steadfast on keeping the name and calling it a 'badge of honor' despite Native American leaders across North America demanding a change. 
While Friday's statement did not announce any formal change, Snyder's response to the uproar was a definite departure.  
'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 the statement. 
Earlier this week, new Redskins coach Ron Rivera told Chicago radio station 670 The Score that it wasn't the right time to discuss a potential name change. 
In Friday's statement, however, Rivera seemed ready for the change.    
'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,' said Rivera.  
The Redskins say they will listen to input from team alumni, sponsors, and the local community
The Redskins say they will listen to input from team alumni, sponsors, and the local community
The Redskins' name has survived multiple challenges over the years, with many Native American groups labeling the name racist.
The latest move came in the form of letters sent Friday to the three companies - Nike, FedEx, and PepsiCo - per Adweek. The request reportedly was backed by 87 firms, headed by First Peoples Worldwide, Oneida Nation Trust Enrollment Committee, Trillium Asset Management, Boston Trust Walden, Mercy Investment Services and First Affirmative Financial Network. 
Earlier this week, new Redskins coach Ron Rivera told Chicago's 670 The Score that it wasn't the right time to discuss a potential name change. In Friday's statement, however, Rivera seemed ready for the change. '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,' said Rivera
Earlier this week, new Redskins coach Ron Rivera told Chicago's 670 The Score that it wasn't the right time to discuss a potential name change. In Friday's statement, however, Rivera seemed ready for the change. '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,' said Rivera 
The groups behind the letter have combined assets of $620 billion, according to the report. 
FedEx responded by issuing its aforementioned statement calling for the team name to be changed.
'We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,' FedEx said in its one-sentence statement.
The Memphis, Tennessee-based firm paid the Redskins $205 million for the naming rights to its stadium in 1998 and FedEx chief executive Frederick Smith owns a minority stake in the team. The naming-rights contract runs through the 2025 season, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. 
Six years ago FedEx shareholders voted to allow the Redskins to keep their name after the shipping giant receiving a complaint from the Wisconsin-based Oneida Indian tribe. 
FedEx's recent proclamation came as Nike appeared to stage a boycott of the team by removing merchandise bearing the name or logo of the Washington franchise from its website. 
The team is also notably absent from the site's drop-down search menu that features all other NFL teams. 
Protestors rally outside of Lambeau Field prior to the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins on December 8, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin
Protestors rally outside of Lambeau Field prior to the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins on December 8, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin
In the aforementioned letter to Nike, the various investor groups acknowledged the company's efforts to support various protests against racism, but argued that the brand was sending the wrong message by staying silent on the issue. 
'We appreciate that Nike has spoken up in support of the protests stating "Systemic racism and the events that have unfolded across America over the past few weeks." 
A Washington Redskins fan prepares for the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 12, 2004 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland
A Washington Redskins fan prepares for the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 12, 2004 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland
'However, Nike continues to provide uniforms and equipment to the Washington DC NFL football team which bears the logo and name,' the letter continued. 'Further, it produces and sells thousands of jerseys and other apparel with the team's racist name and logo. This association with and facilitation of the racism inherent in the name and logo runs contrary to the very sentiments expressed by the company.' 
It's not the first time the sports giant has shown its disapproval for the team with Nike leaving the Redskins out of its annual Salute to Service collection last year.  
Like the Redskins' recent exile from the Nike website, the team's exclusion from the company's Salute to Service collection could have gone unnoticed were it not picked up on social media. 
First Peoples Worldwide director Carla Fredericks told Adweek believes its social media that has changed the ongoing debate surrounding the use of indigenous groups as mascots. 
'This is a broader movement now that's happening that Indigenous peoples are part of. Indigenous peoples were sort of left out of the civil rights movement in the late 1960s in many respects, because our conditions were so dire on reservations and our ability to engage publicly was very limited because of that. With social media now, obviously everything is very different.'  
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has called for the NFL's Redskins to change their name that many find offensive towards Native Americans
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has called for the NFL's Redskins to change their name that many find offensive towards Native Americans
The George P. Marshall monument had recently been defaced with spray painted graffiti
The George P. Marshall monument had recently been defaced with spray painted graffiti
Washington DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said last month it was 'past time' for the team to address a name that 'offends so many people.'
Likewise, Events DC, a Washington-based sports promoter, recently removed a monument dedicated to team founder George Preston Marshall, who famously refused to integrate his roster until he was forced by the league to do so in 1962.
Meanwhile the team removed Marshall's name from the Redskins' Ring of Fame at FedEx Field, as well as the stadium's lower bowl, which has been renamed for Bobby Mitchell, the franchise's first black player. 
George P. Marshall was forced by the NFL to integrate in 1962. He reluctantly acquired Bobby Mitchell, who went on to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Mitchell died in April
George P. Marshall was forced by the NFL to integrate in 1962. He reluctantly acquired Bobby Mitchell, who went on to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Mitchell died in April
The origin of 'redskin' is disputed, according to a 2016 Washington Post article, that claims it was first used as a pejorative as early as 1863 in Minnesota. 
'The State reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory,' read an announcement in The Winona Daily Republican. 'This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of the Red River are worth.' 
By 1898, Webster's Collegiate Dictionary began defining 'redskin' with the phrase 'often contemptuous.'
Recently the Redskins drew criticism for a '#BlackoutTuesday' tweet protesting racism.
'Want to really stand for racial justice?' asked Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. 'Change your name.' 
The Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that a trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes on free speech rights. Prior to that, the United States Patent and Trademark office had tried to revoke the Redskins' trademark because it was a racial epithet.
In 2016, Snyder wrote an open letter in which he responded to a Washington Post poll showing that 9 out of 10 Native Americans did not take the term 'Redskins' negatively.  
The Redskins' tweet elicited a response from critics, who accused the team of hypocrisy
The Redskins' tweet elicited a response from critics, who accused the team of hypocrisy

2 comments:

  1. They should rename themselves : Washington Redskins Go Fuck Yourself

    ReplyDelete