NFL’s Washington Redskins to change name, logo amid racism outcry
Washington, Jul 13 (efe-epa).- The Washington Redskins officially announced Monday that the franchise’s name and logo will be changed after mounting criticism of their alleged racist connotations.
The decision comes two weeks after several of that National Football League team’s sponsors, including delivery services company FedEx, sporting goods giant Nike, beverage, food and snack titan Pepsi and Bank of America, pressured for the changes.
The team’s owner, Dan Snyder, and head 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,” the organization said.
Snyder previously had roundly rejected calls to change the name and logo even though the term “redskins” is widely considered to be a racial slur.
Advocates for the rights of the Native American community had long called for the change, but the pressure grew in the wake of the mass anti-racism protests that followed the May 25 death of an African-American man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer.
The Redskins in June cut ties with the legacy of George Preston Marshall, the owner of the franchise from its inception in 1932 in Boston until his death in 1969, taking away his statue at FedEx Field and removing his name and image from both the stadium’s Ring of Fame and the team’s website.
Marshall refused to sign African-American players until he was obligated to do so in 1962, more than a decade after most of the league’s other teams had already taken that step.
The franchise initially was known as the Boston Braves, but Marshall changed its name to the Redskins in 1933 when the team relocated to Fenway Park and started sharing a stadium with the Boston Red Sox, a Major League Baseball team.
Due to a lack of fan support in New England, Marshall relocated the franchise in 1937 to Washington DC.
In an interview with the Washington Post on July 4, the United States’s Independence Day, Rivera said he and Snyder had come up with two names they both like. But he did not say what they were and added that Native American organizations would be consulted before they are revealed.
Three US professional baseball franchises – the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers – also are being called upon to change their names.
In the case of the Braves and Indians, their names are considered by many to be racially insensitive to Native Americans.
The Texas franchise, meanwhile, is facing growing pressure to change its name after a new book on the Texas Rangers, a storied state law enforcement agency, detailed their history of “savagery, lawlessness and racism” targeting Native Americans, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.
US President Donald Trump earlier this month said teams should not give into pressure to change their names.
“They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct,” he tweeted on July 6. EFE-EPA