Washington D.C.’s National Football League (NFL) team has finally agreed to retire their longstanding name, which many Native Americans have called “dehumanizing,” the team announced in a brief statement on its website and via Twitter on July 13.
“Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review,” reads the statement and tweet. “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.”
The Washington Post, which published a history of the “R” word on July 3 when the NFL first announced they would “review” changing the name to something less offensive, noted the word can be traced all the way to the mid-1700s when the nation’s First Peoples and the arriving colonists were at mortal odds. Merriam-Webster cites the definition as “usually offensive.” In 1933, four years before moving to Washington, when they were still in Boston, the Washington Post wrote that the team’s founder George Preston Marshall changed the name from “Braves” to differentiate it from the city’s baseball team.
The team’s agreement to do the right thing comes 11 days after FedEx, who owns the rights to the stadium name, announced that they “communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.” And according to the NFL, FedEx was not alone. In the same July 3 announcement regarding FedEx, the organization reported that 87 different investment firms and shareholders united to sign three separate letters to FedEx, PepsiCo and Nike to break up with the team if it didn’t change its name.
Of course, NFL fans and foes alike have taken to Twitter to react as shared below:
Its been a long journey and many sacrifices have been made. Rest in Power George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery & many others. #BlackLivesMatter! We still need justice for Breonna Taylor! Thank you #BLM for creating awareness, this means so much to Indigenous ppl! pic.twitter.com/hxXXezX9Pj— Amanda Blackhorse (@blackhorse_a) July 13, 2020
Notice that the first group listed is “sponsors”. And that Native American PEOPLE are not listed. AT. ALL. as an interested party–as THE interested party–who bears the brunt of this racism. But ok, I’m glad its gone. https://t.co/3taeRP4C2I— Joseph M. Pierce (@PepePierce) July 13, 2020
Dear all: R*dskins is a dictionary defined racial slur. Instead of writing it out, maybe try:— John Little (@John_A_Little) July 13, 2020
•Washington team name
Make people understand that it IS a racial slur. #ChangeTheName
Hey #settlercollector allies, if the Washington team really retires the anti-Native slur tomorrow, the online hate against Indigenous accounts will likely be pretty intense, especially against Indigenous women who already get the most abuse. Your intervention would be helpful.— Imagine Otherwise (@justicedanielh) July 13, 2020