The Washington Redskins are officially considering a name change, a decision that has been a long time coming but only came after the team experienced significant pressure from some of its biggest financial partners.
Quite possibly the biggest push came from Nike, the NFL’s official apparel partner, when it quietly removed every single piece of Washington merchandise from its online store. The move was later followed by a statement from Nike saying it was “pleased” to see the steps taken toward a name change, but the message had already been sent.
Now, even more business are following suit.
It’s getting harder to buy Washington merchandise
Similar to Nike, Walmart and Target — two of the largest retail chains in the country — have appeared to drop all Washington merchandise from their websites. A search of the name turns up nothing at Walmart.com, and it’s the same story at Target.com.
Pete Hailey of NBC Sports Washington noticed the absence on Monday:
So that’s three enormous retailers now deciding to no longer carry an NFL team’s merchandise. It’s worth noting Washington’s official team store is still up and running, but the retail shutout almost certainly represents a financial loss for the team.
That’s just one way Washington owner Dan Snyder is feeling pressure to change a name criticized for decades as a racial slur.
Two other financial partners, FedEx and Pepsi, have publicly indicated they would like to see a name change, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said he is supportive of discussions to change the name. Politicians in Washington D.C. have said the team will need to change its name if it wants to move to a stadium inside the district in the future.
Meanwhile, literally every member of the Washington ownership group that isn’t a direct relative of Snyder is reportedly trying to sell their stake in the team and citing Snyder’s leadership as a major reason why.
The name still has some loud proponents, most notably the president of the United States. President Donald Trump lamented the change as “politically correct.” Conversely, former president Barack Obama had indicated he was in favor of a name change while he was in the White House, so the team doesn’t exactly have a history of listening to the president on this topic.
Clearly, business partners seem to hold a bit more sway.
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