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On July 2, The Washington Redskins received pressure from FedEx (Who’s name is on their
stadium until 2025), Nike and PepsiCo have said they want the nickname changed because it (along with Target, Walmart and Amazon, who have stopped selling the team’s apparel) is labeled offensive towards Native Americans.
On July 3rd , the Franchise said they would undergo a review of the team’s nickname, which had been called Redskins since 1933. And on July 13th , the team led by owner Daniel Snyder, announced that the nickname Redskins along with their logo will be officially retired and a new nickname will be announced on a later date.
“On July 3rd, we announced the commencement of a thorough review of the team’s name. That review has begun in earnest. 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 (Ron) 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.”-The team said in a statement.
Question is, what took them so long?
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) July 13, 2020
Let me clarify: Privilege is defined as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or
available only to a particular person or group.”-And in this case the particular group is an
National Football League (NFL)sports team, which made them think they were untouchable and would never have to be concerned about changing a nickname that they’ve held for 87 years (Not to mention the logo, that’s been in place since 1971, when it was designed by a Native American Chief) until now.
And they should not be the last team to do so. The Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Chicago Blackhawks and College Football’s Florida State Seminoles also need to be on alert to change their nicknames as well, or face the same pressure as the Washington Football team did.
This isn’t an old story as we go back in history: In 1969, the Philadelphia (Eventually
Golden State) Warriors decided to drop the Native American logo in favor of the locally known Golden Gate Bridge (but kept the name). In 1974, Dartmouth College football team discontinued its old mascot the Indians, and now go by The Big Green. In 1991, The Eastern Michigan Hurons also changed its name to the Eagles after the Michigan Department of Civil Rights released a report suggesting that all state schools discontinue racially insensitive logos.
In 1994, St. John’s University changed its team name from the Redmen to the Red Storm and in 1997, the Miami of Ohio changed their nickname from the Redskins to the RedHawks, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) changed their name from the Indians to the Crimson Hawks and the Illinois In 2007, the University of Illinois dropped the Chief Illiniwek logo and mascot.
So, it was about time Washington’s football team made the change, even though it took pressure to do so. And being the oldest team to have such a nickname, their decision could lead the way for those other teams to also do the right thing. But it will not come easy.
Although the MLB’s Indians announced that they will consider a name change (On July 3rd ) , the Braves announced on July 12, that although that although they will
look review the Tomahawk Chop, a celebration that is also used by Florida State (who is also considering a name change), that they will not change their nickname.
“The Atlanta Braves honors, respects, and values the Native American community. As an
organization, we have always drawn strength from our diversity and respect for everyone. That will never change,” the team said in an email posted on Twitter.
The NHL’s Blackhawks have also announced that they will not change their nickname. Still no response from the NFL’s Chiefs. Many reasons why those team refuse to change their names? (for now) Definitely money. From a business and branding/marketing standpoint, no team truly wants to go through a process that’s usually reserved for expansion and relocating teams and the fact that some teams believe that they’re honoring the Native Americans with these nicknames. Only thing is, are they seeking the Native Americans opinion on it? It is about time they did.
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