Redskins Drop Name After 87 Years

Sol FH. - July 14, 2020

The Washington NFL team caved to sponsor and public pressure to change their questionable name.

Indians, Braves, Chiefs, Blackhawks, and the Redskins, the racial justice reckoning over team names is picking up momentum. On Monday, the Washinton Redskins dropped its longtime, racist team name, after pressure from the public and sponsors, mainly FedEx. 

The City of Washinton is undergoing an awakening. First, the tribute to George Preston Marshall, the founder of the Redskins, which was situated in front of the team’s old stadium. Next, the Skins removed all references to Marshall from within the stadium and the training facility.

The pressure from its corporate sponsors was too much to handle, and the name and logo of the Washington NFL team have been removed, and a new name has yet to be chosen. Team owner Daniel Snyder, who has been adamant that he would never changer the name, even after social justice groups deemed it a racial slur. 

“Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review,’’ the team stated.

For years, the team was at the center of a sometimes angry discussion because of its racist past and name/logo. Marshall was the very last of all NFL teams to sign a player of color, and that was only because of pressure from the federal government. He considered the name, "Redskins," to be testament of bravery, but First Nations communities across N. America begged to differ.

Monday’s decision came just 10 days after the team said it would examine the 87-year-old name under pressure from major corporate sponsors including FedEx, which had threatened to end its sponsorship of the team’s stadium.

A Major Shift in the US

After the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police in late May, much of the nation has moved to slam historical representations of racist symbols. Racism is at the height of the conversation now, with headlines taking the place of COVID-19 news in some cases. 

More than 60 monuments have been destroyed or removed since May 2020, across the US, but also in places like the UK, Belgium, Germany, and others. 

Moving Forward

The Washington team did not announce a new name on Monday, as new names and logos are being discussed. Snyder says that the new name will “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.”

“This day of the retirement of the r-word slur and stereotypical logo belongs to all those Native families,” commented Suzan Shown Harjo, a First Nations activist. She also commented that the removal of the Redskins name was a victory for all those who “bore the brunt of and carry the scars from the epithets, beatings, death threats and other emotional and physical brutalities resulting from all the ‘Native’ sports names and images that cause harm and injury to actual Native people.”



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