The Washington Redskins announced Monday that they would be retiring their team nickname and logo, but had not yet decided on their new moniker. In short order, the Navajo Nation offered a new name they believe would be a fitting replacement for the NFL franchise.
What are the details?
The Redskins issued a statement saying:
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 Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing or our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.
Two hours later, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez released a statement celebrating the Washington, D.C., area team’s move, while noting that the franchise made its decision due to “mounting pressure and advocacy of Indigenous peoples…and many other warriors who fought long and hard for this change.”
The Navajo Nation went on to condemn the use of the “redskins” name used by the team since 1933 before adding:
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We strongly encourage the NFL Washington organization to rename their team in such a way that truly honors and respects the First Americans of this country. Renaming the team ‘Code Talkers’ to honor the Navajo Code Talkers, and other tribal nations who used their sacred language to help win World War II, would set the team on a path to restoring its reputation and correcting the historical misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples.
The Redskins have faced criticism for years over their team name, but a cultural movement following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and action from corporations ratcheted up pressure on the franchise in recent weeks with threats to the team revenue.
FedEx recently threatened to pull its sponsorship of the team’s stadium, and Fox News pointed out that “big-name retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target, as well as Nike and Dick’s Sporting Goods, all removed Redskins merchandise from their websites this week.”