The Washington Redskins announced the franchise's new name on Monday. The news completes a fast-paced series of events that began just 11 days ago when FedEx publicly asked the team to change its name. FedEx, the team's corporate sponsor, even threatened to remove its name from the team's Landover, Maryland, stadium if the name was not changed.
"On July 3, we announced the commencement of a thorough review of the team's name," Washington stated in a press release. It goes on to say, "Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upcoming completion of this review." As for the team's new nickname and logo, the team stated "Dan Snyder and Ron Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach," which will be announced soon.
Team owner Dan Snyder had long resisted efforts to get the team's name changed, even though many see the team's name as a racist slur for Native Americans. However, as the protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue across the country after George Floyd's death, FedEx asked the team to come up with a new nickname on July 2. Nike also dropped products with the team's logo from its website.
The day after FedEx's announcement, the Washington team announced plans for a "thorough review of the team's name." The review "formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks," the team said. "We believe this review can and will be conducted with the best interest of all in mind."
On Friday, FedEx made it clear that its request earlier in the month was not a mere suggestion. The Washington Post obtained a private letter the delivery giant sent to the team, including specific reasons why the name change must happen. The company's brand and reputation are inconsistent "with its commitment to a more inclusive society," according to the letter. FedEx is set to pay Washington $45 million after the upcoming season, but could negate the deal "for cause."
Prior to the official name change, "Warriors" was reportedly a leading candidate. Other reports said the team plans to completely remove the Native American image in the logo but plans to keep the gold and burgundy colors long associated with the franchise.
The Washington franchise began as the Boston Braves in 1932 before switching to "Redskins" in 1933. The team moved to Washington, D.C. in 1937 and has won three Super Bowls. Monday's name change is the first for an NFL team since the Tennessee Titans franchise changed its name from the Oilers two years after leaving Houston in 1997.