The Washington Redskins confirmed Monday they are undergoing a name change

By Eric Todisco
July 13, 2020 01:37 PM
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The Washington Redskins NFL football team logo
The Washington Redskins NFL football team logo
| Credit: Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock

The Washington Redskins have officially decided to drop the team's name, which has a history as a racial slur against Native Americans.

The NFL team confirmed in a statement on Monday they would be retiring the name and logo. "[Owner] 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," the statement read.

Following the news, the team's quarterback Dwayne Haskins, Jr., reacted on social media, writing, "As a kid who grew up in the dmv it'll always be #HTTR but looking forward to the future." (#HTTR stands for "Hail to the Redskins," the team's fight song).

Other celebrities also reacted on Twitter, including actress Alyssa Milano, who wrote, "YES!!!! WOOOHOOO!!!"

The team's decision came after it was reported that sponsor FedEx alerted the Washington, D.C.-based team in a two-page letter that it will pull its name from stadium signage following the 2020 NFL season if the franchise did not agree to a name change, the Washington Post reported.

The company reportedly signed a stadium naming rights deal with the team in 1999 worth $205 million; if FedEx does remove its signage, it’ll be six years before the deal is set to expire, the Post noted.

An aerial view of FedEx Field
Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

In addition, 87 investment firms worth a collective $620 million issued letters to FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo this month requesting that they cut ties with the franchise until the team changed its name, according to Adweek. Seemingly in response, Nike removed all team merchandise from its online store.

The team then told PEOPLE in a statement on July 3 that it was launching “a thorough review of the team’s name,” a move that formalized initial discussions with the league that had occurred in recent weeks.

Washington Redskins
Credit: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The NFL team has used the name since 1933, and Snyder told USA Today in 2013 that he would “never change the name” despite efforts, including some in court, to do so over the years.

The renewed call for a name change initially emerged in light of social justice and police brutality protests that began in late May and have continued on into July following the death of George Floyd while in police custody.