On Monday, the NFL’s Washington Redskins announced in a press release that it will retire the decades-old moniker that some considered racially offensive and adopt a new team name and logo, The Washington Times reported.
“On July 3rd, we announced the commencement of a thorough review of the team’s name,” the team’s statement began. “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,” the statement added. “Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review.”
The team went on: “Dan Snyder and Coach 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.”
Motivated by money
But as could be expected, not everyone was pleased with the move. Sports Illustrated writer Jenny Vrentas argued that it was motivated more by financial concerns than by principle.
“What changed was not the calls from Native Americans — they’ve been there all along, asking to be heard, repeatedly being denied,” Vrentas tweeted.
“What changed was the threat of losing money, so let’s frame the name change correctly: the right decision, for the wrong reasons,” she added.
The name “Redskins” has applied to the team since 1933, a year after it was founded in Boston. The team did not move to Washington until 1937, as USA Today reported.
Other teams weigh changes
Meanwhile, Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Cleveland Indians have also announced that a name change may be in the works, tweeting on July 3, “We are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
However, Fox News reported on Monday that Atlanta’s MLB team will be sticking with a name that has long been controversial in some circles, but it will review whether to continue using the famous “Tomahawk Chop” gesture performed by fans for years, with the team saying in a statement:
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.
Whether these moves by team leadership are viewed by Native Americans in particular or sports fans in general as anything more than a cynical public relations ploy remains to be seen.