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Washington Redskins change the controversial team name

“You know where this is going,” said one of the people on condition of anonymity. “You are working on this process [of changing the name]. It will end with a new name. Dan has been listening to different people in the past few weeks. “

When asked if a change was safe, the person said, “I don’t want to say 100 percent. It’s very likely going in that direction.”

A second person, aware of the situation, said, “It̵

7;s not about whether the name changes, but when.”

One of the people familiar with the team-league discussions said the change could “potentially” take place before the 2020 season, which is currently scheduled to start on September 10, and the other said, “It’s going in that direction.”

The team said the review “formalized the first discussions the team had with the league in the past few weeks.” No schedule for the review has been announced.

“This process enables the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise, but also contributions from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community that it is proud of, on and off to represent the field, “said Snyder in the statement.

Goodell expressed the league’s support for the team’s review. “We have had ongoing discussions with Dan over the past few weeks and we support this important step,” said Goodell in a statement released by the league.

League officials have said in the past few days that any change would be a club decision, not one made by the league office. According to someone familiar with the league’s interior, the owners of other NFL teams were increasingly concerned about Snyder’s use of the Redskins and his long-standing refusal to rethink the name.

“We have to help him do the best for himself and the best for the league,” said the person. “I hope this is a wake up call because this franchise is so important.”

Snyder has no choice but to change the name, according to this person who spoke on condition of anonymity. Otherwise, “I think he’ll have a big exodus of all of his sponsors,” he said.

The announcement by the Redskins and the sudden U-turn on a topic that has long disturbed the franchise follows a broader nationwide race discussion and settlement with the country’s history. Since George Floyd was killed in police custody in May, monuments have been dropped, flags have been blocked, and protests have been taking place in coast-to-coast cities that demanded widespread change, mainly focused on racial justice and police brutality.

While a change of name was not explicitly mentioned in the Redskins’ statement, the review is generally seen as the first step towards a step that the organization – and Snyder in particular – has long resisted. Snyder, who grew up as a fan of the franchise before buying the team in 1999, has kept the team’s name and the mascot is a source of pride that honors Native American heritage. In an interview in 2013, he drew a line in the sand and said, “We will never change the name. It’s as simple as that. NEVER – you can use Caps. ”

However, the pace of change has increased in recent weeks, and on Thursday FedEx, a long-time sponsor and owner of naming rights for the team’s home stadium, issued a one-sentence statement calling for a change. Fred Smith, the managing director of FedEx, is a minority owner of the Redskins.

“We communicated our request to the Washington team to change the team name,” said the Memphis-based company.

Investors and shareholders put pressure on the team’s corporate sponsors, and many welcomed the Redskins announcement.

“We have had discussions with the NFL and Washington management on this issue for a few weeks,” said Jon Banner, executive vice president of global communications at PepsiCo, in a statement. “We believe it’s time for a change. We’re excited about the steps the team announced today and look forward to further partnership. “

Larry Di Rita, President of Bank of America for the Washington market, said: “As a partner and sponsor, we have encouraged the team to change the name and we welcome this announcement.”

Another key sponsor, Nike, removed Redskins’ merchandise from its online store on Thursday, and a spokesman said the company “spoke to the NFL and shared our concerns about the Washington team’s name.”

“We are delighted that the team is taking a first step towards change,” the spokesman said in a statement.

FedEx, Nike, Bank of America and PepsiCo have tied their brands to the Redskins for years as key team supporters. None of the companies used the word “Redskins” in their respective statements, which recognized the support for a name change.

Carla Fredericks, one of the leading companies that urged companies to cut team relationships if it didn’t change its name, called on Friday for the Redskins review process to be appropriate and led by local voices.

“We don’t believe that a long process of reviewing dictionary-defined vertigo is required,” said Fredericks, director of First Peoples Worldwide and director of the American Indian Law Clinic at the University of Colorado Law School. “And whatever review process is being carried out should be done with local leadership at the forefront.”

The Redskins have defended the name in the face of legal challenges, and the issue has been controversial for years. Numerous members of Congress and even President Barack Obama are calling for a change. The name has recently dashed the team’s hopes of building a new stadium in Washington, as both local and federal leaders said a return to the district would depend on a new name.

MP Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Who has spoken out in favor of the name change in the past ten years, welcomed Friday’s development as a turning point in a long-standing movement, but said that no change was needed before a change was introduced.

“It is a racial insult that one of our countries is currently facing: things we swept under the carpet and said were acceptable or said,” We’ll fix that later, “McCollum said in a phone interview.” That American people don’t want to wait any longer. They want a clear message that equality and justice are what we strive for as a nation. “

Several grassroots organizations have put pressure on Snyder for years, protested games and organized themselves through social media. Ray Halbritter, a representative of the Oneida Indian Nation and leader of the Change the Mascot campaign, said: “Any real review will lead to the inevitable conclusion that the deeply offensive and racist name of the NFL team in Washington must now disappear.”

“Government agencies, schools, workplaces, sports and civic leaders, civil rights and religious organizations, and social scientists have already carefully examined the subject and finally determined that the mascot is insulting and that its use causes hostility and harm,” he said.

While the team was firmly convinced that the name would not change, the organization has grappled with other controversial aspects of its past in recent weeks. In June, the team removed the name from George Preston Marshall, its founding owner and the last NFL owner who included his team’s list in the franchise’s ring of honor. The decision was made just a day after a memorial to Marshall was blurred and later dismantled and removed from outside the RFK Stadium, the franchise’s long-standing home stadium.

Les Carpenter contributed to this report.

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