Redskins no more: Washington NFL franchise retires controversial nickname

Washington's NFL franchise announced on Monday that they will retire the nickname, Redskins.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Editor’s note: This story first appeared on AMNY.com

The NFL’s franchise in Washington, D.C., formerly nicknamed the Redskins, announced on Monday that they will change their name. 

“We will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review,” the team released in a statement. “[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 decision comes after nearly two weeks of discussions and pressure from major businesses and sponsors. 

Washington’s home stadium’s namesake, FedEx, pushed the team to change its nickname while major companies like Amazon, Nike, and Target all dropped the franchise’s merchandise from their shelves. 

“Washington’s decision to change its franchise mascot and logo is a positive step towards creating a world where inclusivity is the norm,” another major sponsor, Anheuser-Busch, released in a statement. “As a major partner of the NFL and many individual teams, we fully support their recent steps to stand against racism and inequality. Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light look forward to working with the Washington team and all of our partners across the NFL to bring players, fans, and local communities together this season.”

It’s a major victory for the Native American community, which had been pushing the team to change its name for years. 

“Today we celebrate the retirement of the Washington NFL football team name that has long perpetuated racism and harm against Native peoples. This is 30 years in the making, and we honor the leaders of this movement, Suzan Harjo and Amanda Blackhorse, and important contributors such as Dr. Stephanie Fryberg, First Peoples Worldwide, and thousands of other Native organizations, people and tribal leaders who have fought for this,” Crystal Echo Hawk, executive director of IllumiNative, said. “Tomorrow, our fight continues. We will not rest until the offensive use of Native imagery, logos, and names are eradicated from professional, collegiate, and K-12 sports. The time is now to stand in solidarity and declare that racism will not be tolerated.”

IllumiNative is a nonprofit initiative designed to increase the visibility of Native Nations and peoples in the United States while challenging negative labels and stereotypes that have been established throughout the decades.

No timetable for the team’s new name is known as of this time.

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