Following increased corporate pressure, the National Football League’s Washington D.C. franchise has begun “a thorough review of the team’s” racist name.
On Friday, the team released a statement announcing the review:
“In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name,” the statement said.
The announcement also said that the team and the league have had ongoing discussions on the matter for weeks.
“In the last few weeks we have had ongoing discussions with Dan and we are supportive of this important step,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.
Washington’s owner, Dan Snyder, has faced mounting pressure to change the name in recent weeks due to the national unrest over racism.
“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,” the owner said in a statement.
On Thursday, FedEx, which holds naming rights to the team’s stadium, released a statement calling on the team to change its name.
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” the announcement read.
According to the Washington Post, the request came after “a group of more than 85 investment firms and shareholders representing $620 billion in assets called on FedEx, Nike, and PepsiCo to sever ties with the team unless” the owner changes the team name.
Also on Thursday, reports surfaced saying that Nike appeared to have removed all merchandise that held the racist team name from its online store.
Washington’s coach Ron Rivera said in the statement, “This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military.”
In June, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the team should change its name, calling it offensive.
“I think it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people. And this is a great franchise with a great history that’s beloved in Washington. And it deserves a name that reflects the affection that we’ve built for the team, Bowser said.
The mayor also said the name may stand in the way of a deal to build a new stadium for the franchise.
“It’s an obstacle for us locally, but it’s also an obstacle for the federal government who leases the land to us,” Bowser said.
According to the AP, last month, the team removed racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame and took down a monument to Marshall from the old RFK Stadium in Washington.