Jul 13, 2020 - Sports

Washington Redskins will change team name

Washington Redskins logo.
Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins announced Monday that the NFL team plans to change its name.

Why it matters: It brings an end to decades of debate around the name — considered by many to be racist toward Native Americans. The change was jumpstarted by nationwide protests against systemic racism in the U.S. this summer.

  • Team owner Dan Snyder had long been famously opposed to changing the name, arguing that it "represents honor, respect and pride."
  • He changed his stance following a wave of pressure, especially from corporate sponsors, amid the ongoing national dialogue about racism.
  • The organization said that the team's new name will be revealed at a later date.

The backdrop, via the Washington Post: "The origin of the word 'redskin' has long been disputed by linguists, Native American activists who consider it a slur, and those who insist that the name of Washington’s football team honors Indians rather than disparages them."

The state of play: The team began a formal review of the team's name on July 3, a day after three major sponsors — PepsiCo, Bank of America and FedEx (which has its name on the team's stadium) — publicly requested a name change.

  • On the same day that FedEx and others took action, Nike pulled Redskins merchandise from its website. Five days later, Amazon did the same.

What they're saying: "It's never too late to do the right thing, and if you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, it doesn't really matter," Carla Fredericks, member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation told the Post.

  • "We need to be seen in all of our humanity, and not as a caricature, because that impacts policy and how people interact with Native Americans every day. We are not your mascot," Crystal Echo Hawk, founder of IllumiNative told Axios.
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