- The Washington Redskins are changing their offensive name after years of protests.
- Earlier in July, the team announced a review of the name following renewed pressure from sponsors.
- There’s no word yet on the new name or timeline for the change.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Washington Redskins will be no more.
Owner Dan Snyder and head coach Ron Rivera were “working closely to 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 team said, confirming overnight reports that the move was coming.
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) July 13, 2020
Renewed pressure for the name change began in early July after FedEx – a major sponsor whose CEO is a part owner of the team – put pressure on the organisation in a succinct public statement.
Behind closed doors, The Washington Post reported, pressure was even higher.
Other major corporate sponsors, including PepsiCo and Bank of America, have also publicly supported the name change, which comes after months of protests in dozens of major US cities in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
President Donald Trump also waded into the reinvigorated calls for the name change, once again playing on racial tensions in an America already on edge from the global pandemic that it’s largely failed to mitigate.
“They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness,” he tweeted on July 6, “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!”
Forbes reported Washington’s value as a sports franchise has fallen dramatically in past years, and not just because of its name.
“The team’s brand equity has fallen,” the magazine said in 2019, “because the Redskins have been a train wreck on the football field for much of Snyder’s tenure.”
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