A day after stadium sponsor FedEx requested that the Washington Redskins change their name and Nike removed team gear from its online store, the team promised a “thorough review” to investigate the possibility.
The Redskins’ name has been under fire for several years, and is viewed as racist by many Native Americans and their supporters. Nevertheless, principal owner Daniel Snyder has publicly vowed in the past “never” to change the name.
However, the issue resurfaced this week when District of Columbia politicians and business leaders vowed the team could not build a new stadium within the district without a name change. In addition, FedEx, Nike and Pepsi were among three companies that reportedly received letters from shareholders asking that they no longer do business with the Redskins.
Thursday, FedEx — which paid $205 million in 1999 for naming rights to the team’s current facility in Landover, Md. — requested the team change its name (in addition, FedEx CEO Fred Smith also owns a minority stake in the Redskins.) Later Thursday, Nike moved all Redskins gear and the team name from its online shop.
Friday, the Redskins issued a statement including comments from Snyder and head coach Ron Rivera, announcing the team was already involved in discussions with the NFL about its name and “will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.”
Here’s the full text:
“In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name. This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.
Dan Snyder, Owner of the Washington Redskins, stated, “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.”
Ron Rivera, Head Coach of the Washington Redskins remarked, “This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military.”
We believe this review can and will be conducted with the best interest of all in mind.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also weighed in.
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