The Washington Redskins released a statement that the organization will change their name and logo. ESPN reported that no new name has been announced, but the franchise is planning to continue to use gold and burgundy as the team’s colors.
The move to change the 87-year-old name was not unexpected, due to recent pressure from major sponsors, though team owner, Dan Synder, has opposed renaming the team for years.
Native American groups have been protesting the use of the Redskins name and imagery for decades. Then in 2013, they garnered national attention and support from prominent civil rights, religious, and academic organizations. In response, Snyder wrote an open letter asserting that the Redskins Nation owed it to fans and players to preserve the team’s heritage.
In 2017, The NFL came under scrutiny for the decision to allow the Redskins to host a game on Thanksgiving, but the backlash was not enough to provoke Snyder to reconsider his stance.
That all changed in June, when a letter signed by an investor group worth $620 billion was sent to Redskins’ sponsors, imploring them to suspend business with the franchise unless the team’s name changed. On July 1st, FedEx, who has naming rights to the stadium, requested the team change its name. The same day, Nike removed all Washington merchandise from stores.
The franchise released a statement on July 3rd announcing a formal evaluation of the team’s name. Head coach, Ron Rivera, said “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.”
The team posted a status on twitter July 13, which stated the Redskins name and logo would be retired.
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) July 13, 2020