Just one day after stadium sponsor FedEx requested a change, the Washington Redskins on Friday morning announced they will conduct a thorough review of their controversial nickname.
“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,” Redskins owner Dan Synder said in a statement.
FedEx — which was founded by Fred Smith, who notably owns a minority stake in the Redskins — was one of three sponsors to receive a letter this week signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders asking them to terminate their business relationship with the team unless the name is changed. So, too, was Nike, which pulled all Redskins merchandise from its website on Thursday night.
The third sponsor, PepsiCo, added its own statement on Friday morning, saying the company “believe(s) it is time for a change. We are pleased to see the steps the team announced today, and we look forward to continued partnership.”
Snyder has been adamant about not changing the nickname in the past, but pressure continues to mount amid the nationwide protests against racial inequality. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a separate statement the league has had “ongoing discussions” with Snyder in recent weeks and the league is “supportive of this important step.”
The franchise has been called the Redskins since 1933, and has repeatedly resisted calls for a change in the past.
“This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honouring and supporting Native Americans and our military,” head coach Ron Rivera said.
UPDATE (July 8/20 – 1:30 pm ET): The Washington Post is reporting the team could have their new name picked and announced as soon as two weeks from now.
The Post added that coach Ron Rivera has been discussing possible replacement names over the past month with owner Dan Snyder, two of which he said he “really liked”. As noted in the last paragraph of the original version of this story up above, Rivera has said that any new name will be to honour both Native Americans as well as the U.S. Military.
So… Washington Americans?
Photo via the Washington Redskins.