The Washington Redskins on Friday issued a statement that they will “undergo a thorough review of the team’s name” amid renewed pressure.
“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. This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.
“… We believe this review can and will be conducted with the best interest of all in mind.”
Team owner Dan Snyder has been under more pressure in recent weeks to change the name given the social climate following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
“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 a statement Friday.
On Thursday, FedEx, which has naming rights to the stadium under a $205 million deal that runs until 2025, requested that the team change the 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.
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. Nike did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment.
In 2014, The Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin asked FedEx shareholders to reconsider the naming rights agreement, but shareholders voted to stick with company officials and continue the business relationship, according to the Memphis Business Journal.
Native American leaders want Snyder to change the name, which the franchise has used since 1933. In the past, groups protested the name and tried to win in court. Those efforts failed.
“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,” coach Ron Rivera said.
ESPN’s John Keim contributed to this report.