After eighty-eight years, the Washington NFL team is finally changing their name and logo.
The announcement came today in a statement from the team, according to CNBC, in which the company says that the name is being retired and that they are working to develop a new name and logo:
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.
This change comes a long way from the attitude of team owner Dan Snyder, who told USA Today back in 2013 that he would never change the name: “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.” Snyder is far from alone in adjusting his stance following the protests around the country after George Floyd’s death on May 25.
An interesting piece of wording in the statement is the first thing mentioned is their sponsors. This is not a moral decision, but a financial one. Due to the deep racial interrogation that has been happening over the last few months, companies have been working to rebrand themselves as aware. Bank of America, Nike, Pepsi, and FedEx, all sponsors for the team, have spoken out against the name, and just last week, Amazon joined Wallmart and Target in pulling their merchandise.
Despite the capitalism that was behind this decision, I’m glad it was done. Native American folks have been talking about the issue for years, and their voices have been key in getting this issue on the table.
Of course, now the issue is finding a new name and logo, which is already getting trolled a little bit, and honestly, some of the names are legitimately funny.
Going all in for Washington War Hogs https://t.co/pa46UW4XYf
— Maggie Serota (@maggieserota) July 13, 2020
I’m sure there will be many who will cry political correctness and cancel culture, but if cancel culture worked the way people thought for businesses, then when this issue, which has been discussed for decades, would have been taken seriously already. This issue has been a part of Native American discourse since the ’60s and has been part of the mainstream conversation since the ’90s.
Plus, I’m sure now all that retired merch is going to sell for thousands of dollars to “own the libs.”
And even in the end, the statement that announces this change does not make a single mention of Native Americans, the appropriation and stereotyping of their identity, or the activists who worked towards it. Nope, it’s about the sponsors first.
(via CNBC, image: Doug Pensinger /Allsport)
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