Washington Redskins NFL team dropping controversial name and logo

The Washington Redskins NFL team says it is dropping its name and Native American head logo.

The team said it is “retiring” the name and logo – among the most polarising in US professional sports – after 87 years.

Owner Dan Snyder and head coach Ron Rivera are “working closely to develop a new name and design”, a statement said.

The Redskins name has caused controversy for decades
Image:The Redskins name has caused controversy for decades

The name and logo have long been controversial, with experts calling the Redskins a “dictionary-defined racial slur” in reference to Native Americans.

Ten days ago, the Redskins had started a “thorough review” of the name, following the recent conversation on race, prompted by George Floyd’s killing after a white police officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis in May.

Sponsors, including FedEx, PepsiCo and Bank of America, had also asked for the name to be changed, while Nike removed all Redskins merchandise from its online store.

Snyder had previously refused to change the team’s name since buying the club in 1999.

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Monday’s announcement comes in stark contrast to the club’s previous stance – only last month the team, one of the oldest in the league, said it had no comment about the name it was given in 1933 when it was still based in Boston.

Rivera said in a radio interview last month that now was not the time to discuss the name – but on announcing the review on 3 July he called it “an issue of personal importance”.

Sponsors FedEx and PepsiCo, seen on the side of the Redskins stadium which is being used for COVID-19 testing, called for a name change
Image:Sponsors FedEx and PepsiCo, seen on the side of the Redskins stadium which is being used for COVID-19 testing, had called for a name change

In a statement on Monday, the team said the new name and logo “will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years”.

It did not state when the new name would be announced.

The decision to change the Redskins’ name will be a victory for Native American advocacy groups which have been trying for decades to force a change because they claimed it was racist.

Last week more than a dozen Native leaders and organisations wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demanding an immediate change of the name.

A study by University of California, Berkeley published earlier this year found 67% of those surveyed who strongly identify as Native American agreed the name was offensive.

Washington mayor Muriel Bowser recently said the name was an “obstacle” to the team building a stadium in the city.

Last month, the team removed racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame and a monument of him was removed from its old stadium site.

His granddaughter supported the moves and said she has “always felt” if anybody is offended by the Redskins “they should change the name”.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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