It’s Official: Washington Redskins Will Have New Name
After years and years of some fans calling on team owner Dan Snyder to ditch the Redskins nickname, the Washington D.C. NFL franchise will soon have a new name.
This comes in the wake of the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, which put the issue of race and imagery in sports firmly back into the limelight.
According to the team, Snyder and new head coach Ron Rivera are working together to come up with a new name and logo that will, "enhance the standing of proud, tradition rich franchise".
One important point does need to be noted: This is nowhere near the first time there have been calls to change the identity. Many times over the years, including in the last decade after incidents of racism and police-involved killings of black people, there have been calls for Snyder change the name. Snyder though remained steadfast that the name would never change. Those were his words. Never. You can read those exact words here.
So what changed? Now, I can't speculate about what went on behind closed doors. However, my best inclination is two-fold: increased support of social justice issues from the NFL and waning-sponsor support.
The NFL previously said a few years back they would come down on personnel who protested police brutality by kneeling for the anthem. That was policy.
The NFL now says it supports all forms of protest, and that it was wrong to come down on the players for protesting. The Redskins' hands would have became tied if they were to brush off the criticism of the name and logo. The team almost had to follow the same course as the NFL.
The second likely reason is, of course, money. FedEx, which is the Redskins' stadium sponsor, recently told the team in a private letter that it would remove its brand from everywhere in the stadium if the team did not change the name and logo.
Additionally, retailers like Amazon, Nike, Walmart, Target, and Dick's Sporting Goods all decided to pull Redskins merchandise from stores.
My best educated guess is that Dan Snyder saw the writing on the wall and that keeping the name and logo would be more financial trouble than it is worth.
To be honest, I did not think this would ever happen as long as Snyder was in charge. He always came across as a guy that was so entrenched in the nostalgia of the team's heritage to want to lose the name. I guess now is the time.
No announcement of the new name or logo is expected on Monday, but reports suggest that it could come sooner rather than later.