The Washington Redskins officially announced Monday they will retire their 87-year-old name and Indian head logo, finally caving to pressure that the name is offensive to Native Americans.
The real reason appears to be money. “FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America all lined up against the name, which was given to the franchise in 1933 when the team was still based in Boston,” The Associated Press reported. On July 1, FedEx threatened to pull out of $205 million stadium naming rights deal and issued a statement asking for a change to the controversial name.
“Today, we are announcing that we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review,” the team said in a statement released Monday morning. “[Team owner] 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.”
A new name has not yet been chosen. “The new nickname will not be announced immediately because trademark issues are pending,” sources told Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal.
But there are a few names floating around.
“’We came up with a couple of names — two of them I really like,’ Redskins Coach Ron Rivera said Saturday, one day after the team announced it is undergoing ‘a thorough review’ of the name the franchise has had since 1933,” The Washington Post reported last week.
The priority, Rivera told the Post, is to make sure the name is respectful of Native American culture, but he also suggested that it would be “a tribute to the military,” the Post reported.
The leading contender for the replacement name is “Warriors,” the Post noted, pointing to The Team 980’s Kevin Sheehan floating the name as the frontrunner on his podcast Friday, citing “pretty good authority” for the claim.
“I don’t think that’s a reveal by any stretch,” he said. “I think people do know that the Redskins have marked Washington Warriors just in case and that this has been the way. … I would bet big money on the Warriors being the new name for the football team.”
The Post also listed a slew of “other potential names,” including Redtails, Pigskins and Americans. The Post included a list of “honorable mentions” provided by readers, among them: “Rainbows, Dee Cees, Swamp, Red Jackets, Rough Riders, Veterans, Federals, Monuments, Sentinels, Defenders.”
Dwayne Haskins Jr., the new quarterback for the Washington team, supports the name change, writing on Twitter: “I like the [R]edtails.” The Post said the name “was used by the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation’s first African American aerial combat unit, who broke the color barrier during World War II.”
I like the redtails 🤔 https://t.co/DLSWsUcldp
— Dwayne Haskins, Jr (@dh_simba7) July 3, 2020
Snyder had long expressed opposition to changing the name, telling USA Today in 2013 that he would “never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”