After years of stubbornness, being reluctant, and arrogant smiles in the face of backlash, on behalf of Owner Dan Snyder, the NFL franchise formerly known as Washington Redskins has confirmed and committed to dropping the Redskins as their name amid of racial and social reform along with the mounting pressure on the franchise from corporate sponsors.
Snyder and his franchise have been well documented in the news regarding the insensitive name and logo for a long time, with the earliest talks of refusal starting in 2013. During that time period, Snyder had been steadfast on keeping the name by stating “We will never change the name of the team. As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it’s all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.
We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER—you can use caps.”
What changed? Was it the guaranteed loss of money if he would’ve stubbornly declined a name and logo change?
On July 2, FedEx — one of the franchise’s top sponsors and the holder of its stadium’s naming rights — released a statement asking the team to change its name, and it sent a letter to team lawyers saying it would terminate the naming rights deal and not pay the contract’s remaining $45 million if Snyder did not change the team name. Other sponsors, including PepsiCo, Nike, and Bank of America, also made similar demands.
Now, after a weekend to sit, reflect and think about what comes with staying to true to your famous quote, the franchise has agreed to start fresh and move to a new name and logo. A new identity so to speak.
After Floyd’s death, a person with direct knowledge of the plea said. Soon after, Snyder apparently began confronting the reality of a name change. This prompted the new head coach, Ron Rivera, to work hand and hand with Snyder and the front to make a change. Rivera state’s that he and Snyder have narrowed down the new name to two options, however, did not reveal the names, but said he wanted to confer with Native American and military organizations to make sure that the new name properly honored both.
Snyder also released a statement that the new name “will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition-rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans, and community for the next 100 years.”
The replacement name has been held up by trademark issues, which is why the team couldn’t announce the new name Monday.
The team’s name will not change immediately. The club’s website remains Redskins.com, the NFL’s official site still refers to the team as the “Washington Redskins,” but owner Dan Snyder would like the name change by the start of the 2020 season.
Snyder decision, in an attempt to save face during PR hell, isn’t surprising as brands across the nation are making changes to include and rebuild relationships with the people of this country’s oppression. We’ve seen brands like Ben and Jerry’s on the front line of support for sometime, and now, brands like Google, Facebook and Amazon are donating to organizations throughout the country to fight social injustice. In very recent years the NFL has also began their own trend of active contributing by donating and community service, and recently admitted Colin Kaepernick, though still without an NFL job, was right in his stance against racial injustice.
The division between what the league; that’s predominantly black with 70 percent of the players being African American, should do and what they will do has been ongoing for decades with the moral compass pointing south or just being dropped majority of the time. Snyder’s efforts can be looked at like a good PR move, the right thing, or a good business decision, however, the fight is not over and the work is not done.