Washington NFL Team Announces 'Thorough Review' of Name Amid Growing Criticism

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2020

Washington Redskins helmets sits on the field before the start of an NFL football game between the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Washington's NFL team announced Friday that it is conducting a "thorough review" of its team name following recent discussions with the league.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted the team's statement:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Potentially big news: The #Redskins have been having internal discussions about their team name and now will conduct a formal, thorough review. Full statement, including quotes from owner Dan Snyder, on a possible name change: https://t.co/49mpesZGs9

Rapoport also passed along a statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Nike:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: “In the last few weeks we have had ongoing discussions with Dan and we are supportive of this important step.” https://t.co/UDtLBCJrrq

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

A statement from @Nike regarding the #Redskins likely name change: “We have been talking to the NFL and sharing our concerns regarding the name of the Washington team. We are pleased to see the team taking a first step towards change.”

Team owner Dan Snyder said the following regarding the review: "This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field."

Washington's team name has long been a hot-button issue, but it has been under increased scrutiny in recent weeks because of widespread protests against racial inequality in the United States and around the world.

The killing of 46-year-old Black man George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 led to worldwide protests against racial inequality, social injustice and police brutality.

Given the current climate, there may be more momentum behind a name change than ever for the Washington franchise, especially now that Snyder seems open to discussion.

In 2013, Snyder said he would "never" change the team name despite the fact that many Native American groups have expressed their belief that the Redskins name is racist.

National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp wrote an article for the Washingtonian last week in which she called the nickname both racist and offensive and called for players of the team to boycott the season until the name is changed.

Washington's NFL franchise has been known as the Redskins ever since it moved to D.C. in 1937. It was also known as the Boston Redskins before that from 1933 to '36. The franchise's original name for one season in 1932 was the Boston Braves.

Pressure is mounting to make a change, however. For perhaps the first time, it seems the organization is considering going in a different direction.