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Washington’s NFL franchise released a statement on Monday confirming news Yahoo Sports reported over the weekend that the team will officially change its name.
The league had asked teams to begin scrubbing “Redskins” from their platforms over the weekend in anticipation of the change that ultimately came on Monday. No new name has been announced yet, as the team is trying to settle a trademark dispute.
The move completes a swift about-face from Washington owner Dan Snyder, who previously vowed that the nickname would continue on as it has since 1933, when it was created by former owner George Preston Marshall. This despite the name coming under increased scrutiny in recent years as being racist and demeaning toward Native Americans. Those grievances have been longstanding, but gained significant momentum over the last month as the death of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests over racial inequality in the country.
The turning point appeared to come on July 2, when it was revealed that a group of investment firms in multibillion dollar corporations such as FedEx, Nike, PepsiCo and others had joined together to ask the companies to cut their business ties with Washington unless the franchise changed its nickname. Collectively, the groups and investors seeking to pressure the name change held a net worth of over $620 billion. Soon after that letter pressuring the companies, FedEx released a statement that it had requested a name change and Nike pulled all Washington merchandise from its online store.
The organization followed those moves by announcing it would begin a review process with its name, drawing a statement of praise from the NFL, essentially cementing the reality that Washington would be changing its nickname.
The change will add to some sweeping moves surrounding the franchise, including the removal of a memorial of Marshall outside RFK Stadium. Marshall had previously been an ardent critic of desegregation in America, including many statements made after his founding and ownership of one of the NFL’s cornerstone franchises over the last century. Snyder also acquiesced on removing Marshall from the team’s materials and Ring of Honor, despite at the time refusing to change Washington’s nickname.
Now he is on the verge of wiping the slate clean, which could also open some avenues to having his franchise move into the D.C. area, which has been favored by some politicians in the event of a new name.
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