Washington Redskins May Drop Team Name Under Pressure From Sponsors

Washington Redskins May Drop Team Name Under Pressure From Sponsors
The NFL team says it will undertake a "thorough review of the team's name" after stadium sponsor FedEx calls for dropping the offensive term.

"Unyielding. Strong. Indomitable. Native Americans call themselves many things. The one thing they don't..."

In 2014, the National Congress of American Indians produced this video. It was part of a campaign to get the NFL's Washington Redskins to change their team name to something other than a historic racial slur against Native Americans. 

The football team's owner, Dan Snyder, has for years steadfastly refused to drop the name and team mascot. But now corporate America may have forced his hand. 

The franchise has announced it will undertake a "thorough review of the team's name," with Snyder saying he wanted the team to be something the NFL "and the local community ... is proud to represent." 

This comes after FedEx, one of the team's leading advertising sponsors, called on Snyder to get rid of the name the team has used since 1933. 

FedEx paid the team $205 million for the naming rights to its stadium. Company CEO Frederick W. Smith is also a minority investor in the team. 

A day before FedEx requested a name change, Adweek reported that Wall Street investment firms and shareholders worth $620 billion signed letters asking three companies — FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo — to terminate sponsorship agreements if the team doesn't change its name. 

Nike has pulled the team's apparel from its website. 

The corporate response comes seven years after a tribal coalition created changethemascot.org. The Oneida Indian Nation of New York had written NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, asking him to bba." 

A California tribe, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, helped fund a related national advertising campaign. Its then-tribal chairman, Marshall McKay, explained why in this 2014 video.

"We chose to get involved in this change the mascot campaign because we are affected by racism. The tribe is. The individual citizens are also affected by racism. And we want to draw attention to the pain."

Recently, Washington, D.C., removed a statue of the team's original owner. George Preston Marshall was the last NFL owner to allow Black players.