Wednesday , August 12 2020
Home / Latest News / Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

Native American advocates and experts have long criticised the name they call a “dictionary-defined racial slur.” Over a dozen Native leaders and organisations wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week demanding an immediate end to Washington’s use of the name. Goodell, who has fielded questions on the topic for years, said he supported the review.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.Credit:AP

Protests against the name predate Snyder buying the team in 1999, and, until now, he had shown no willingness to consider a change. Strong words from sponsors – including a company run by a minority stakeholder of the team – changed the equation.

FedEx earlier this month became the first sponsor to announce it had asked the organisation to change the name, particularly important because CEO Frederick Smith owns part of the team. FedEx paid $US205 million for the long-term naming rights to the team’s stadium in Landover, Maryland.

The lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and dropping the name keeps open various possibilities in Maryland, Virginia and Washington for the team’s new stadium and headquarters. District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has said the name was an “obstacle” to Snyder building on the old RFK Stadium site, which is believed to be his preference.

The team recently started cutting ties with racist founder George Preston Marshall, removing his name from the Ring of Fame and renaming the lower bowl at FedEx Field for the team’s first Black player, late Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell. Marshall, who renamed the Boston Braves the Redskins in 1933 and moved the team to D.C. four years later, was a segregationist and the last NFL owner to integrate his team. The current logo shows the profile of a red-faced Native American with feathers in his hair.

Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves and the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks have said they have no inclination to change their names. Some advocates would like to see all Native American names, mascots and imagery out of sports.

Native American leaders protest against the Redskins team name outside US Bank Stadium in 2019.

Native American leaders protest against the Redskins team name outside US Bank Stadium in 2019.Credit:AP

Long removed from the glory days of winning Super Bowl titles in the 1982, 1987 and 1991 seasons under coach Joe Gibbs, Washington’s NFL team has just five playoff appearances in 21 years and no post-season victories since 2005. The team has lacked a nationally marketable player since Robert Griffin III’s short-lived stardom, and the 2020 schedule features zero prime-time games for a franchise that used to be a draw.

Re-branding with a new name and logo – and perhaps the same burgundy and gold colours – coupled with turning football operations over to Rivera could be a boon for Snyder on and off the field. Even if a segment of the fan base opposes the change in the name of tradition, winning would more than make up for those losses.

About admin

Check Also

Coronavirus updates LIVE: 21 more deaths, 410 new cases in Victoria; AMA president says NSW has become complacent; Auckland back in lockdown

Victoria’s coronavirus death toll is sadly climbing, with the state recording 21 more deaths overnight. …