Washington Redskins to Undergo 'Thorough Review' of Team's Name amid Pressure from Sponsors
The announcement comes less than 24 hours after leading sponsor FedEx called on the team to change its name
The Washington Redskins will "undergo a thorough review" of the team's controversial name after being met with recent pressure from its sponsors, the team announced Friday.
"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 team told PEOPLE in a statement. "This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks."
The announcement comes less than 24 hours after leading sponsor FedEx called on the team to change its name.
"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," team owner Dan Snyder said in the statement.
Ron Rivera, the head coach of the NFL team, remarked that the issue is "of personal importance to me" and hopes to "continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military.”
"We believe this review can and will be conducted with the best interest of all in mind," the statement concluded.
According to Ian Rappaport, an NFL National Insider, the NFL is "supportive of this important step" and the league has had "ongoing discussions" with Snyder, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.
The sportswriter added that after speaking with several sources, "a name change is likely."
Snyder has faced pressure on the issue in recent weeks following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed while in police custody.
On Thursday, FedEx — which owns naming rights to the stadium where the team plays — requested that NFL team change its name. The CEO of FedEx, Frederick Smith, is also part-owner of the NFL team.
"We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name," the shipping company told PEOPLE in a statement.
Their request comes a day after reports that 87 investment firms worth a collective $620 million issued letters to FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo requesting that they cut ties with the Redskins until the team changes its name, according to Adweek.
Nike has already made a major move in seemingly sharing their stance on the issue by removing all of its Redskins apparel from its online store.
The popular sports gear website lists all 31 NFL teams but when conducting a search for "Redskins," the site does not yield any results.
The NFL team name, which has been used since 1933, has been a longstanding point of controversy as many groups find the term "redskin" to be a racial slur toward the Native American community.
Many groups have tried to protest the name in the past but proved unsuccessful in court.