Decades of resistance gave way to mere days of deliberation.
The Washington Redskins will change their team name and logo but have not yet announced the replacement.
It comes after owner Daniel Snyder announced July 3rd a “thorough review” of the name — a derogatory slur for Native Americans — was underway.
But this is even quicker than many expected — perhaps to assure time to adjust uniforms, logos and merchandise for the start of the 2020 season.
A statement was released on Monday saying “Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskin’s name and logo upon completion of this review” with Dan Snyder and Washington coach Ron Rivera “working closely to develop a new name and design approach” for the franchise.
Calls to find a non-offensive name began decades ago, but Snyder, who purchased the team in 1999 that he rooted for as a child, dug in on the history of the organisation and the idea that it honoured Native American culture.
But when stadium title sponsor FedEx asked for a reconsideration and official uniform sponsor Nike pulled all merchandise from sale on its website, Snyder took a step toward change despite infamously saying only seven years ago that it would “never” happen.
If concluded — Yahoo Sports indicated Redskins executives began spreading word around the league late last week to drop the nickname from various platforms — the review lasted less than ten days.
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FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo had shareholders imploring them to cut advertising revenue to the Redskins without a name change. FedEx CEO Frederick Smith is a part-owner of the franchise.
Warriors is a popular replacement choice because Snyder once trademarked the name with intention to add an expansion franchise to the Arena Football League. It never came to fruition, and his rights elapsed.
Another popular choice and winner of a prize in a fan contest is RedTails, a reference to hero Tuskegee Airmen fighter pilots during a time before military segregation was outlawed.
But the option gaining steam appears to be Red Wolves, as star defensive lineman Jonathan Allen promoted it on a social media account. RedTails or Red Wolves would allow the franchise to keep its #HTTR hashtag and maybe minimise changes to the corresponding fight song “Hail to the Redskins.”
“So many great things could come out of that,” Allen said.
“Call the stadium ‘The Den,’ get the ‘Wolfpack’ on D. I ain’t gonna lie, that would be hype, bro.”
Quarterback Dwayne Haskins is on board and former Redskins players including Fred Smoot and Will Compton are trying to rally support. Even Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant — a Maryland native and big fan of the football team — endorsed the change with some fire emojis on Instagram.
So what’s the holdup?
Trademark issues are pending, according to the Sports Business Journal. There is rich irony there because Snyder spent untold sums waging a legal battle against the Justice Department to retain the Redskins trademark.
In 2017, the Supreme Court declared that a federal law banning trademarks interpreted as disparaging was a violation of the First Amendment. Loss of trademark protection would have cost a fortune in merchandise sales.
For a generation of sports fans in the nation’s capital, the change is reminiscent of when the NBA’s Washington Bullets changed their name to the Washington Wizards for the 1997-98 season, after team owner Abe Pollin’s friend, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was killed by gunfire.
The three-time Super Bowl champion Redskins are cut from a different fabric, though. Arriving from Boston in 1937, they remain the heartbeat of sports in the city despite years of losing and inept leadership leading to empty seats and anti-Snyder chants.
MLB’s Cleveland Indians also are considering a change, while the Atlanta Braves are not.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission