Washington's NFL team will no longer be called the Redskins as the nickname and logo have been retired. And while some fans and experts believe the change is overdue, the family of the man who created the logo is not as excited about the change. Washington's logo has been an Indian chief since 1971, designed by Native American Walter "Blackie" Wetzel to depict a member of the Blackfeet tribe. His son, Lance, believes the logo is not offensive because he "takes pride in it."
"Everyone was pretty upset (about the change)," Lance Wetzel said via WUSA 9. "Everyone understood the name change we were all on board with that." Wetzel went on to say that once Washington decided to rope the logo, he said "it was hard." He continued to say: "You look at the depiction of the Redskins logo and it’s of a true Native American. I always felt it was representing my people. That's not gone."
The logo is a picture of John "Two Guns" White Calf, who also appears on the Buffalo Nickel. Walter Wetzel grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana and was elected president of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington D.C. He was responsible for the team to changes the logo from the "R" to the image of White Calf.
Before Washington made the announcement to retire the nickname and logo, it was reported the logo was going to be removed. However, the team will likely keep its colors of burgundy and gold once the new name and logo are announced. Washington has been called the Redskins for 87 years. But in the last few weeks, the team has been facing pressure from fans, players, and sponsors to change the name during the re-energized Black Lives Matter movement. FedEx, Washington's corporate sponsor, said in a statement: "We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name."
Changing the name and logo of an NFL team is rare but it does happen. The last time there was a name change was in 1999 when the Tennessee Oilers became the Tennessee Titans. The interesting thing about this is the first year with the new name, the Titans won the AFC and were one-yard away from possibly winning the Super Bowl.