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Washington Redskins to review their name after pressure from sponsors

Written by Konrad Ostrowski

The Washington Redskins, an American football team, will “undergo a thorough review” of their name after facing pressure from major sponsors.

The name of the Washington DC side has been controversial for decades as the term “redskins” is a racial slur against Native Americans and there have been many campaigns and petitions to force them to change it.

Owner of the Redskins, Dan Snyder, said: “This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organisation, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community."

Washington Redskins helmet. Image Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

However, Mr Snyder has previously dismissed calls for the Redskins to change their name, calling it a “badge of honour.”

Worldwide anti-racism protests reignited calls for a name change as sponsors FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo each received letters signed by 87 shareholders asking them to end their deals with the club unless they did so.

As a result, Nike removed all Redskins merchandise from their website and took the team name off their full index of NFL sides.

Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins. Image credit Washington Redskins

Pressure increased on the club when their headline sponsor, FedEx, put out an official statement demanding the name be changed. Mr Snyder announced the review the next day.

FedEx paid $205m for the naming rights to the Redskins’ stadium in 1998, a deal which expires in 2025. Furthermore, the CEO and founder of FedEx, Frederick Smith, owns a minority stake in the team.

This situation is another example that, often if you want to force progressive change, you have to hit organisations where it hurts: their wallets.


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