After facing intense pressure in recent weeks, the Washington Redskins have officially begun a review of the team’s nickname.
In a statement from the team, owner Dan Snyder said: “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 of the field.”
The team’s statement indicated that the review “formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.”
The discussion about changing the team’s name, considered a racial slur against Native Americans and indigenous people, has endured for decades. However, the urgency and pace of action ramped up due to increasing pressure from sponsors and their investors.
Earlier this week, FedEx asked the team to change the nickname. And last night, Nike appeared to have pulled all Washington Redskins merchandise from its website.
Adam Schefter, senior NFL reporter at ESPN, predicted that the review will lead to a name change.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appears to favor the move.
“In the last few weeks, we have had ongoing discussions with Dan, and we are supportive of this important step,” said Goodell, who earlier in June, admitted that he and the league were wrong about player protests about racial injustice, while not specifically mentioning Colin Kaepernick’s name. Kaepernick, who began peaceful protests by kneeling during the national anthem before games, has not been in the league since 2016.
For his part, Washington head coach Ron Rivera voiced support for the review.
“This issue is of personal importance to me,” he said. “And 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.”
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