Redskins Helmets

The Washington NFL franchise announced Monday that it will drop the “Redskins” name and Indian head logo immediately, bowing to decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans.

A new name must still be selected for one of the oldest and most storied teams in the National Football League, and it was unclear how soon that will happen. But for now, arguably the most polarizing name in North American professional sports is gone at a time of reckoning over racial injustice, iconography and racism in the U.S.

The move came less than two weeks after owner Dan Snyder, a boyhood fan of the team who once declared he would never get rid of the name, launched a “thorough review” amid pressure from sponsors. FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America all lined up against the name, which was given to the franchise in 1933 when the team was still based in Boston.

The team, which is headquartered in Ashburn, said it is “retiring” the name and logo and that Snyder and coach Ron Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design.

Native American advocates and experts have long criticized the name they call a “dictionary-defined racial slur.” Over a dozen Native leaders and organizations wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week demanding an immediate end to Washington’s use of the name. Goodell, who has fielded questions on the topic for years, said he supported the review.

Protests against the name predate Snyder buying the team in 1999, and, until now, he had shown no willingness to consider a change. Strong words from sponsors — including a company run by a minority stakeholder of the team — changed the equation.

FedEx earlier this month became the first sponsor to announce it had asked the organization to change the name, particularly important because CEO Frederick Smith owns part of the team. FedEx also paid $205 million for the long-term naming rights to the team’s stadium in Landover, Maryland.

The lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and dropping the name keeps open various possibilities in Maryland, Virginia and Washington for the team’s new stadium and headquarters. District of Columbia mayor Muriel Bowser has said the name was an “obstacle” to Snyder building on the old RFK Stadium site, which is believed to be his preference.

Washington recently started cutting ties with racist founder George Preston Marshall, removing his name from the Ring of Fame and renaming the lower bowl at FedEx Field for the team’s first Black player, late Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell. Marshall, who renamed the Boston Braves the Redskins in 1933 and moved it to D.C. four years later, was a segregationist and the last NFL owner to integrate their team. The current logo shows the profile of a red-faced Native American with feathers in his hair.

Long removed from the glory days of winning Super Bowl titles in the 1982, 1987 and 1991 seasons under coach Joe Gibbs, Washington has just five playoff appearances in 21 years and no postseason victories since 2005. The team has lacked a nationally marketable player since Robert Griffin III’s short-lived stardom, and the 2020 schedule features zero prime-time games for a franchise that used to be a draw.

Re-branding with a new name and logo — and perhaps the same burgundy and gold colors — coupled with turning football operations over to Rivera could be a boon for Snyder on and off the field. Even if a segment of the fan base opposes the change in the name of tradition, winning would more than make up for those losses.

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Related coverage:

-"Loudoun Board of Supervisors votes to send letter requesting name change for Ashburn-based Washington Redskins"

(65) comments

amerigirl

I heard that the reason that they have not determined a name is because

Martin McCaulay stockpiled Washington NFL trademarks. Anyone know if that is the real reason?

pittguy20

Rename it to The Washington Crooks!

Master Bedroom

The NFL continues to put another nail in its own coffin. Yep, biz decision for Synder, but it won't stop here. Atlanta Braves?

When the players take a knee on week one of the season, the fans will quit watching this once great sporting event. Fans want to watch a football game, period.

amerigirl

I don't think braves is a derogatory term. Why should taking a knee have anything to do with watching a game? Does it effect how they play? If fans don't want to see it then don't have that part televised. But this country is starved for their sports nd taking a knee in a peaceful protest is not going to stop them from watching. Maybe Pence, but that was all planned out at the taxpayers expense.

IanXDm

NFL has been sucking mud since the Anthem stuff... this should pretty much seal the deal. Smh

LeesburgFan

I don't have any problem with the name change. Bullets changed to Wizards. It's really no big deal. But Snyder is a joke, fought the name change for years stating smugly it'll NEVER happen. Enter the prospect of losing tens of milllions of dollars from corporate sponsors and he flips like a pancake!

countyresident

Who cares if he flipped? It's called BUSINESS and he didn't let his "feelings" about the name get in the way of business and who cares what he said yesterday? He's a jerk but so what? He's still rich and anyone who's crying about him is still just jealous lol

WesternSky

Cleary. We should drop all references to Native Americans -- streets, parks, everything. Too controversial.

Maybe we can call the team-- The Conquers

Jeanne T

This has nothing to do with protecting the feelings of Indians. Having a team named after you is an honor. You only name teams for something you respect, so why would they want anything that references American Indians?

LetSanityPrevail

There is truth to your comment. What is acceptable today may be found offensive in 5 or ten years. Keep away from all ethnic, religious and racial names. /sarc on...we can just name teams...team one, team two, team three.../end sarc

trickydick

I think "conquers" might be a verb?

marv

They can now also change their fight song to one more befitting their record. IE -

Hail to the deadskins Readem stinkujn Stink on stink ok

Hail misèrable Touchdowns we cant score Till they have won

Bums in the outhouse Hit them miss them Bums of Washington

Stink on for old DC We give points some more Bah bah bah

Chris McHale

I was at St. John's University when they changed from Redmen to Red Storm. Nobody really remembers the Redmen name and now they're mostly known as the Johnnie's. Red Strom is still their official name but it never took off.

Notalib

Who cares, change the name. Its football. They won't even being playing this year anyway.

David Dickinson

The worst part about this is that I think Rivera is the coach that can actually get the team on a winning path. Now, people will look back and talk about the turn-around and name change at the same time.

Sunday Sinner

LOL if you think a Snyder owned organization will ever be on a winning path.

loudouncommonsense

I must not have spoken clearly in my comment. Economic choice: purchase or boycott is the clearest expression of free speech and probably the most effective one in the marketplace. Ayn Rand capitalism is a 600lb gorilla. Some businesses (and some individuals) try to escape the responsibility that comes with freedom. Yes, make, sell or say what you want, but accept any negative consequences that may result. Don't use bankruptcy, restructuring, interminable legal proceedings or claiming personal persecution as a shield.

Goya boycotters get my support; I checked our cupboard

springerdad

I would say you are one of those individuals that says whatever he wants but hides behind a fake screen name instead of using your real name. So in fact you are hiding from any of the negative consequences that may result from what you post.

Sunday Sinner

And your name IRL is springerdad?

springerdad

I am not calling for boycotting anyone and I don't own a business that LCS says he does.

Notalib

I bought 20.00 worth of Goya products.over the weekend. You boycotters of Goya are fools. The boycott wont work.

Voltaire

Notalib--politics aside, Goya does have good food products.

Voltaire

LCS--OK, what is wrong with the CEO of Goya Foods saying his opinion? From a constitutional perspective, there isn't anything wrong with that. Does it impact either the price or quality of the product? No. However, after reading the comment, he should have thought about his company's market and thought about what it would do. This incident is just as "smart" as the CEO of Boeing stating on CNBC that he thought one his customers, the airlines, would go bankrupt and acted non-nonchalant. Bad PR. Companies, if warranted, should use the tools of bankruptcy, restructing, use of the courts, if they need to do that to make their business enterprise workable/profitable. What is wrong with that?

Lawman

Somebody please tell your President that I am not sure I can take too much more of the winning. Republicans control of State government gone, Republican control of county government gone. Redskins name gone, Raiders name gone, Statue to traitors and Supremacist gone. But don’t fret US is first in Covid cases, deaths and cluelessness. Man this is too much and it’s all being televised. What a Country.

Jeanne T

Yes, what a country! I think it's a wonderful place to be. And I know you do, too. Otherwise you would not have joined its military to defend the Constitution, as is your claim.

Sunday Sinner

LOL I'd wager 99% of the folks in the military don't really know anything about the Constitution outside of 3 amendments.

Lawman

“Protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies” that’s all we need to know. That’s why we have smart people. We got to many grunts in the country who think they are pilots. No idiot just take the hill, stop trying to figure out flight dynamics or avionics.

Jeanne T

I'd wager that 99 percent of them do. And that's precisely why they joined.

Notalib

You must of never served in the military then because you are not correct

Sunday Sinner

Indeed I did serve, USMC / Infantry. What branch were you? Or are you just a mil groupie?

Sunday Sinner

You'd lose your wager. I was in the military.

Notalib

Civil Air patrol doesnt count

Sunday Sinner

Don't call into question my service. You haven't done jack for this country.

RoundHillGuy

Did you issue me my TA 50 when I was at 30AG? We need brave folks like you issuing gear to the guys who are actually going to go into harms way. thank you for your service.

Sunday Sinner

Nice, you conservatives sure do like putting down other people's service. Wonder why that is.

Sunday Sinner

Lol Roundhillguy the only kind of warrior you are is of the keyboard variety.

Voltaire

RHG--you do know that a military force does need to have a logistics support unit. Without supply corps, you wouldn't have weapons, ammo, or supplies that would allow you to "go into harm's way".

springerdad

Sunday Sinner You are pissed about someone questioning your service while you do the same exact thing to someone else.

You can't make this stuff up.

Sunday Sinner

No, I was responding to any me civilian troll. It's not my fault the comment threading here is terrible.

Voltaire

SD--Actually, Sunday Sinner does have a valid right to be upset. There is nothing wrong with people serving in the military as Quartermasters and other service logistics/support functions. The snide comment made by RHG implied/inferred that if you were not out "in harm's way" (the front lines) then you weren't a "real" soldier. That is simply wrong.

Jeanne T

"“Protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies” that’s all we need to know."

Correction: Protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

amerigirl

What next you want him to include the entire constitution??? It is a common practice to do that and it doesn't change the meaning of what he said 1 iota.

loudouncommonsense

So in parallel news, there has been a call to boycott Goya foods because of the political position taken by the CEO. This has been roundly criticized in some quarters as an attempt to quash free speech.

So how does the world actually work? Do those in power voluntarily change things out of the goodness of their hearts and minds, responding with sensitivity to societal injustices like Daniel Snyder generously did (.....cue guffaws and gag reflex).

Or is economic power (the potential loss of Fedex sponsorship or the Goya boycott) the only effective way for the masses to exert influence, trampling for the greater good any protestations of "freedom of speech" by the 1/10 of 1% in the process?

springerdad

I guess that is why you feel comfortable to voice your political opinions as you mask your identity. No one gets to know what businesses you own.

Lawman

I love all you Constitutional Lawyers who never went to law school and thus have no clue what the First Amendment guarantees. There is no absolute guarantee of free speech. The First Amendment attempts you prevent prior Governmental restraint and Governmental efforts to quash speech or define what can be spoken. It has nothing to do with how private citizens and entities can react to your speech. You can say what you want, but in the market of ideals, the public has the right to react to your speech. So drop all your belly aching about Goya. You said nothing about Black athletes right to kneel. Danny Boy changed that name because the market shifted and it was going to be too costly, plain and simple.

Jeanne T

"You said nothing about Black athletes right to kneel"

Oh yes, we did. You lie. And we used that free speech right to criticize the actions of the athletes who bowed the knew to a cause. Because it's our right to disagree.

Now, "Lawman", I will not bow the knee unless there is a sword at my neck. Or, per your previous threats to me, unless there is a gun to my head. that is your fantasy, your true desire, your own words. I will NOT bow the knee to any political or "social justice" cause. But one day, as the Scriptures say, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Yeshua Hamashiach is Lord. And you can do that now, before you stand before Him. I'd advise the former.

amerigirl

If you think that taking a knee is just a ‘cause’ you are truly missing the reason it is done. You can disagree all you want but you should find out what it is you’re disagreeing with. It is a peaceful form of protest to protest for the excessive use of police brutality against minorities, especially against African Americans. It is not a political or "social justice because it is about equality. How can you even quote that scripture when you think that defending the equality of God’s people in a peaceful fashion is just a cause. How does your God feel about equality of the people he created?

Jeanne T

Did you go to law school? If so, which one?

Lawman

Don’t worry your little head off Jeanne, nobody in your family could get in. Lol

Sunday Sinner

LOL when lawyers think they are special. Dime a dozen. Enjoy your crippline debt/work hours/alcoholism.

amerigirl

This is not a forum to ask personal questions, you have done this with me before too.

Jeanne T

"Don’t worry your little head off Jeanne, nobody in your family could get in."

Should I still be worried whether or not you still fantasize about putting a bullet in my "little head", Lawman?

Jeanne T

I'm not bellyaching about Goya, because there is no reason to. None.

Jeanne T

"Danny Boy changed that name because the market shifted and it was going to be too costly, plain and simple."

LOL

RoundHillGuy

Lawman, I'm headed to the store now to buy at least $100.00 worth of Goya.

Lawman

Good for you Cuz, I guess that will help that millions they losing. Funny conservative knucklehead buying food from a Hispanic company just because of Dump. Gotta love this country. Ignorance abounds.

amerigirl

That is so temporary, the customer loss will be more permanent.

Voltaire

AG--you know you are making a blanket characterization about Goya Foods' customer base. You don't know that the impact on the market for Goya Foods' products will be "permanent". There is no economic data to support that conclusion at all.

amerigirl

Volt, that is what you choose to argue about is economic data? You seriously think the little "bu" thing will last very long? People are still boycotting Koch products, that started a long time ago.

amerigirl

People in Loudoun are going suffering and you are wasting your money on that? Trump sheep.

Jeanne T

Goya isn't "losing millions." So what is your excuse for not supporting a "Hispanic" company? Racist much, "Law" "man"?

AFF

Yea, those who don’t support boycotts because they claim to support free speech clearly have no understanding of the first amendment.

Boycotts are in fact, free speech.

The 1A doesn’t protect you from the consequences of speaking freely. We can support your right to run your mouth while at the same time shaming you for what you say.

Jeanne T

"Boycotts are in fact, free speech."

So is voicing opposition to the boycotts. No one is questioning the right to boycott. It works both ways. Goya's CEO has a right to say what he did. If you don't like it, then don't buy the products, period.

Voltaire

Jeanne T--that's a great point!

Jeanne T

"Do those in power voluntarily change things out of the goodness of their hearts"

No, not usually. More likely they are just following the crowd that is the loudest and bowing under pressure, hoping for "acceptance".

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