NFL team The Washington Redskins are finally changing its name and logo, representatives announced today. There have been calls for the team to change the name -- which has been used for 87 years and is widely regarded as a racist slur for Native Americans -- for years, but pressure has mounted in the last few months in the wake of nationwide protests against systemic racism.
On July 3, the franchise announced they would be conducting a "thorough investigation" of the name and logo. "That review has begun in earnest," the team's statement announced today. "As part of this process, we want to keep our sponsors, fans and community apprised of our thinking as we go forward. Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review. 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."
Coach Rivera told The Washington Post that he and team owner Dan Snyder want a name that will honor both Native Americans and the military.
"The NFL and Dan Snyder have finally made the right call and Change the Mascot commends them for it," said Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation representative who headed up the Change the Mascot campaign, in a statement. "This is a good decision for the country -- not just Native peoples -- since it closes a painful chapter of denigration and disrespect toward Native Americans and other people of color. Future generations of Native youth will no longer be subjected to this offensive and harmful slur every Sunday during football season."
The team name will not change immediately. The team website is still currently redskins.com and still has the old logo, and the statement today came on Washington Redskins letterhead. The NFL's website also still lists Washington Redskins as the name. However, Nike, Amazon and other brands have already removed the team name from their online stores.
Related news: for similar reasons, The Cleveland Indians are likely to be the next professional sports team to change their name and logo, though the team says it may not happen till 2022.
The Atlanta Braves say they will not be changing their name, but are looking into changing/retiring the "tomahawk chop" celebration at games.
The Chicago Blackhawks will also keep their name, saying in a statement "The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois' Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public."
No word yet if there will be changes made to the Kansas City Chiefs, though there have been calls for them to do so for years, especially lately.
The Redskins changing their name follows NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell finally apologizing for "not listening" to players about racism. Goodell faced criticism for not mentioning Colin Kaepernick by name in his apology, though he later encouraged a team to sign Kaepernick. Today, Houston Texans safety Michael Thomas penned an op-ed for NBC Sports "on Why Colin Kaepernick Should Be Back in NFL and Important Next Steps in Social Justice Issues."