By ROSA SANCHEZ, ABC News
(ASHBURN, Va.) — The NFL’s Washington Redskins have decided to change their team name.
“On July 3rd we announced the commencement of a thorough review of the team’s name. … Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review,” the team said in a statement on Monday.
The team has not released what the name is being changed to — the team said owner Dan Synder and coach Ron Rivera will “develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.”
The decision comes amid the Black Lives Matter movement — which has sparked a cultural awakening — and after decades of debate over its name and logo, which many say are offensive towards Native Americans.
“July 13, 2020 is now a historic day for all Indigenous peoples around the world as the NFL Washington-based team officially announced the retirement of the racist and disparaging ‘Redskins’ team name and logo,” the Navajo Nation said in a statement after the decision was announced. “For generations, this team name and logo has misrepresented the true history and events that define the term ‘redskins."”
Snyder, who bought the team in 1999, previously said the team would “never” change its name, and argued that it actually honored Native Americans. But in a statement last week, he announced they would consider changing their name “in light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community.”
“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,” he added after receiving pressure from FedEx, which owns the naming rights to the stadium where the team plays in Landover, Maryland.
But FedEx wasn’t the only corporate sponsor who supported the change. Nike and PepsiCo also followed suit, with Nike allegedly removing all of the Washington team’s merchandise from their online store.
According to Adweek, 87 investment firms and shareholders asked the three companies to terminate their relationship with the organization unless it changed their name.
Washington is not the only sports team that considered a name change following complaints about cultural appropriation. The Cleveland Indians baseball team is also conducting a review about whether to change its name — the team removed their former mascot, “Chief Wahoo,” two years ago amid criticism.
The Atlanta Braves and NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks announced they would not change their team names.
President Donald Trump has made it clear he is not behind the name changes. Last week, he tweeted it was a shame that “two fabled sports franchises,” were being forced to change their names “in order to be politically correct.”
They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct. Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, must be very angry right now!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2020
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