Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder announced yesterday that his team is conducting a “thorough review” into the team’s nickname that formalizes the discussions the team has been having with the National Football League about a name change.
Snyder has resisted changing the name of the team, outlasting protests, lawsuits, and demonstrations. But there’s no escaping the mob this time. They want another scalp to hang on their lodgepole and can smell victory in the wind.
The writing is on the wall.
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said in the statement.
Sponsors like FedEx have been urging the change for years.
On Thursday, FedEx, which has naming rights to the team’s stadium under a $205 million deal that runs until 2025, requested the team change its name. Sponsors Nike and PepsiCo also reportedly are under pressure to sever ties with the team unless it changes its name, Adweek has reported.
Frederick Smith, the chairman, CEO and president of FedEx Corp., also owns a minority stake in the Redskins.
And Nike has removed all “Redskins” gear from its online store.
On Thursday night, Nike appeared to remove all Redskins gear from its online store. The other 31 NFL teams were listed, and a search for “Redskins” came up with no results.
“We have been talking to the NFL and sharing our concerns regarding the name of the Washington team,” Nike said in a statement Friday. “We are pleased to see the team taking a first step towards change.”
Soon, it will be like the name “Redskins” never existed — like magic! Erasing history is fun.
The team has already removed the franchise founder, George Preston Marshall, from its famous “Ring of Honor.” Why? It appears Mr. Marshall got woke a little later than other NFL owners. He didn’t integrate the team until 1962.
With NFL revenues approaching $500 million a year, this is a business decision that will have a huge impact on the team’s profitability. While half of the team’s revenue comes from TV contracts, a sizable chunk of the money comes from licensing deals allowing companies to sell the team’s gear. Obviously, those products feature the famous Indian head Redskins logo and would become collector’s items with any name change. Stores would be stuck with millions of dollars of useless T-shirts, jerseys, hats, mugs, pencil holders… the list is endless.
My guess is a lot of those companies aren’t quite as woke as FedEx and Nike.
The next step is to carefully choose a new nickname. I don’t even want to look. I guarantee the new nickname will be so woke that pressure will immediately descend on all 31 other teams to change their names as well. Perhaps, since Trump won’t put her likeness on a bill, they could be the “Washington Tubmans.” Their logo will be the black clenched fist. That would look swell on a T-shirt. And think of the uniform possibilities.