The “thorough review” into Washington’s team nickname that began on July 3 is ongoing, but in the meantime, it announced Monday that it will formally retire the “Redskins” name. The football franchise has been called the “Redskins” since 1933, before it moved from Boston to Washington in 1937.
“Today, we are announcing that we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review,” Washington said in a statement released Monday morning. “Dan Snyder and 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.”
Ben Fischer of SportsBusiness Journal reported that Washington would not release a new name Monday because of pending trademark issues are preventing that from occurring in a timely fashion. Washington is planning to scrap all Native American imagery but would like to retain its original colors of burgundy and gold, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last week.
The franchise’s moniker has been a controversial topic for years with Native Americans petitioning the team to change it on multiple occasions. Snyder, Washington’s longtime owner, had long been resistant to changing the name, telling USA Today in 2013 that he would “never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
However, after stadium naming-rights sponsor FedEx threatened less than two weeks ago that it would end its partnership with Washington, the team clearly began to feel real pressure for change, perhaps for the first time.
On Saturday night, ESPN’s John Keim reported that Washington was close to having a new name “sooner rather than later,” adding that Snyder apparently said he had started talking to the NFL about this decision three weeks ago.
“Warriors,” a name Snyder was reportedly interested in using for an Arena Football League franchise, is believed to be among the top candidates. Recently, CBS Sports’ Jared Dubin created a list of possible name options for Washington. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins is in support of “Redtails,” a name that has an intriguing history as it pays tribute to planes flown by the Tuskegee Airmen, who were the first Black military aviators who served in the United States Army during World War II. Three of the first five admitted airmen were from Washington, serving as a connection to the city and the armed forces.
It will be a tall task to replace all logos, merchandise and design new uniforms before the beginning of the 2020 season if Washington indeed does plan on changing its name immediately. Over the past week, several companies have ceased selling Washington merchandise as the pressure to change the team name reached new heights.
Monday has officially brought a new beginning for the Washington franchise.