The Washington Redskins announced on Friday the team would be conducting a “thorough review” of its name after mounting pressure for a change. The team has been criticized for keeping the name “Redskins,” a racial slur.Sponsors and affiliated companies like FedEx, Nike, and PepsiCo have moved to cut ties with the franchise as long as it resists a name change.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Washington Redskins announced on Friday that there would be a “thorough review” of the team’s name after recent calls for it to be changed. “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,” the team said in a statement.”This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.”Team owner Dan Snyder has received the brunt of the pressure from calls for the team to take a stand in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody.
According to The Washington Post, DC authorities won’t let him build a new stadium on the site of its old RFK Stadium, which is owned by the federal government, until he changes the name.The review “allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said in the statement.The statement came one day after Adweek’s Mary Emily O’Hara reported that three companies, Nike, PepsiCo, and FedEx, were urged in letters from investors to cut ties with the team until it changes its name. FedEx has naming rights to the team’s current stadium until 2025, and requested on Thursday the team consider a change, ESPN reported.A PepsiCo spokesperson told Insider in an emailed statement that the company had been working closely with the team in recent weeks and “believe it is time for a change.”
“We have been in conversations with the NFL and Washington management for a few weeks about this issue,” the statement said. “We believe it is time for a change. We are pleased to see the steps the team announced today, and we look forward to continued partnership.”Insider previously reported that Nike removed the team’s products from its website shortly after the letter was reported.George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests in cities and states across the US brought a renewed wave of calls for the franchise to change its name.Insider’s Tyler Lauletta previously reported that when the team took part in #BlackoutTuesday, a social media trend intended to signal solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter last month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on the team to change the name of their team.
“Want to really stand for racial justice? Change your name,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote above a retweet of the team’s post.Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser later echoed Ocasio-Cortez’s comment, saying it was “past time” for a name change.”I think it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people,” Bowser told the Team 980 radio station.”This is a great franchise with a great history that’s beloved in Washington, and it deserves a name that reflects the affection that we’ve built for the team.”