In a move long overdue, the Washington Redskins appear poised to change their name, and according to Mike Wise of CBS-DC, a resolution could come before the start of training camp on July 25 and perhaps as soon as next week.
Owner Daniel Snyder has resisted overtures to change the team’s name, perceived by many as a slur against Native Americans, since purchasing a majority stake in the team in 1999. Even in today’s politically correct culture, Snyder has been able to skirt the issue for years. But now the team’s longtime owner finds himself between a rock and a hard place with FedEx (who holds the naming rights to the Redskins’ home field in Landover, Maryland), Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America all threatening to pull sponsorship.
With pressure mounting, the Redskins announced Friday the team will conduct a “thorough review” of the team’s name. Both NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (who addressed the controversy in a statement released Friday) and first-year Redskins coach Ron Rivera have expressed their support for a potential name change.
The fact it took financial ramifications to finally spur action speaks volumes, not only about Snyder’s outdated worldview but where his true priorities lie. The belief behind closed doors is that Snyder wants nothing to do with a name change and is merely buying himself time, though with the climate shifting in America, this is no longer a battle he’s capable of winning. Rebranding the team on such short notice (fans have already recommended a number of enticing alternatives) no doubt presents logistical challenges, but it could also be a profitable endeavor for Snyder, who stands to benefit from the sale of new merchandise while appeasing his increasingly disillusioned sponsors.
It’s been nearly a century since the Redskins debuted in 1937. It’s embarrassing it took over eight decades to finally rectify a name synonymous with racism, but as the saying goes, better late than never.