Washington football team is officially retiring its name

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In a statement on Washington Redskins letterhead that uses the offensive word "Redskins" seven times, the Washington NFL franchise announced Monday morning as expected that it is "retiring" the team name that's been in use since 1932.

The team has not announced its new name, although considering the 2020 season is scheduled to begin in a month and a half, they will presumably need to do that very quickly.

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On July 3rd, we announced the commencement of a thorough review of the team's name. That review has begun in earnest. As part of this process, we want to keep our sponsors, fans and community apprised of our thinking as we go forward. Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review.

"Dan Snyder and Coach (Ron) Rivera are 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.

Among the choices owner Dan Snyder is expected to consider for the team's new name are Redtails and Warriors.

The name Redtails honors the World War II Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American Army and Air Force fighter pilots. Their P-47 Thunderbolt jets were painted with red tails.

For years, Snyder steadfastly refused to consider changing the name and logo from a word that's offensive to Native Americans and perpetuates racist stereotypes. 

"We'll never change the name of the team," Snyder told USA Today in 2013. "It's that simple. Never. You can use caps."

Not until he came under intense pressure from big-money sponsors, including Nike and FedEx, did Snyder finally agree to the historic name change.

The team's current name dates back 87 years.

The NFL Boston Braves franchise was founded in 1932 and one year later moved to Fenway Park, which it shared with the baseball franchise of the same name. To avoid confusion, owner George Preston Marshall changed the name to Redskins. The franchise moved to Washington in 1937 and kept the name.

Marshall, who owned the franchise until his death in 1969, refused to allow Black players on the roster until 1962, which made the team the last in the NFL to integrate. 

Not until U.S. attorney general Robert F. Kennedy threatened to rescind the team's lease at city-owned RFK Stadium did Marshall finally allow the team's roster to be integrated.

Last month, team officials removed Marshall's name from the Redskins Ring of Honor at FedEx Field, and a statue of Marshall was removed from RFK Stadium by city officials after it was vandalized.

Native American groups have been protesting the franchise's name for more than 30 years.

In 1991, there were organized protests against the Atlanta Braves and Redskins over their team names and logos, according to an Associated Press story. The story quoted Clyde Bellecourt, director of a group called the American Indian Movement, which organized protests outside Braves and Redskins games.

"It's a racist term," Bellecourt told the AP in October of 1991. "We're not thin-skinned, this just makes a mockery of uses a people and of our culture."

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Washington football team is officially retiring its name originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia