NFL commissioner Roger Goodell “supportive of this important step”
Last Updated: 03/07/20 5:44pm
The Washington Redskins are to conduct a “thorough review” of their controversial franchise name, following growing pressure from sponsors and the general public.
The Redskins name has survived multiple challenges over the years, with many Native American groups labelling the name racist.
FedEx, who have been the title sponsor of the Redskins’ home stadium, FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland since 1999, made a request to the team to change its nickname this week.
The request was reportedly backed by 87 firms, headed by First Peoples Worldwide, Oneida Nation Trust Enrollment Committee, Trillium Asset Management, Boston Trust Walden, Mercy Investment Services, and First Affirmative Financial Network.
In a statement on Friday, the Redskins said: “In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.
“This review formalises initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.”
Redskins majority owner Daniel Snyder added: “This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also the input from our alumni, the organisation, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement: “In the last few weeks, we have had ongoing discussions with Dan [Snyder] and we are supportive of this important step.”
In a separate move, Nike appear to have withdrawn all references to the Washington Redskins from their online store, although the sportswear company has yet to comment.
Mitchell: Redskins name change ‘inevitable’
Brian Mitchell has seen the debate over the Redskins name controversy take place for over 30 years, but never has he witnessed the level of pressure currently on the team to make the change.
Mitchell, who won the Super Bowl with Washington in 1991/92, believes the potential financial implications could eventually trigger a reaction from the franchise.
“Ever since 1990, I’ve been asking this question and I’ve always told people ‘I can’t change it’,” Mitchell told Sky Sports News. “I’ve always said that when money starts being affected, something will happen.
“The pressure is getting to a point in this country and around the world where certain names and themes are becoming taboo. We think back to five years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, there are words people used that can no longer be used.
“People sit there and try to come up with all these polls that I keep hearing about and I don’t believe that the Indian population, the Native American population has been truly represented in those polls.
“So many of us, people of other cultures and races try to speak for them and it’s time for them to speak for themselves and if it’s a problem, just like the ‘n’ word when it comes down to me as an African American, if 10 per cent think it’s bad, it’s bad.”