Washington Redskins Announces It Will Change Team Name After Backlash

The Washington Redskins confirmed Monday that they will retire the franchise's controversial name as the team undergoes a review of new potential names in the wake of national backlash.

"Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review," the team said in Monday morning press release. "Dan Snyder and Coach 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."

Sports Business Daily first reported that the Washington football team would make the announcement on Monday. Less than two weeks ago, owner Dan Synder announced that his team planned to undergo a full review of its name, which has been used since 1933. Native Americans have long called for changing the name, saying it is a racial slur, but public pressure to change the name built rapidly in the past month as anti-racism demonstrations took place across the country.

Washington Redskins
A Washington Redskins helmet logo adorns a window on the outside of FedEx Field on July 7 in Landover, Maryland Drew Angerer/Getty

Newsweek reached out to the Washington Redskins for further comment, but they did not respond by the time of publication.

"If we get it done in time for the season, it would be awesome," the football team's coach Ron Rivera told The Washington Post in an interview published July 4, referring to changing the team's name. The coach said that he and Snyder have been discussing several options.

"We came up with a couple of names—two of them I really like," he said.

Notably, the team's position on renaming has evolved significantly. "We'll never change the name," Snyder told USA Today in 2013: "It's that simple. NEVER—you can use caps."

Following the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, massive anti-racism and Black Lives Matter demonstrations broke out across the country – and around the world. Although the initial focus was on police brutality and systemic racism in the justice system, opposition to controversial monuments and racist symbols has grown rapidly.

FedEx, which has the naming rights to the Washington football team's stadium, urged Snyder to change the team's name in a July 2 letter. Nike also chose to pull merchandise for the team from its website, while many in society called on the team to make the change that Native American groups see as long overdue.

The Associated Press reported in early July that several Native American leaders and organizations had sent a letter urging the National Football League to force a name change for the Washington team. The signatories said they "expect the NFL to engage in a robust, meaningful reconciliation process with Native American movement leaders, tribes, and organizations to repair the decades of emotional violence and other serious harms this racist team name has caused to Native Peoples."

In announcing the review of the name, Snyder pointed to "recent events around our country and feedback from our community." He said the review process would take into consideration the feedback of "our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community."