Image Credit: Brandon Moore / Behance
The team now known as the Washington Redskins started out as the Boston Braves. The name then changed to the Redskins, and owner George Preston Marshall moved the team to Washington D.C in 1937. The meaning of the term Redskin was coined when hunters seeking a bounty on Native Americans brought back the scalp of a victim to receive the prize. In the early time of use, the term Redskin was not seen as offensive. However, through the 19th and 20th century the term went through a period of pejoration (when the meaning of a phrase or word degrades to one that is negative). Even with the negative connotation, Daniel Snyder said in 2013 comment that the name of the team will never change. Native American advocates have pressed the organization in the past, however, these fizzled out and no change came about.
With the death of George Floyd, the public outcry against racism surged and the issue of systemic racism reached the forefront of debate and activism once again. The protest against racism against African Americans also ignited examinations of sports teams with offensive names and customs. With the pressure of the movement against systemic racism, as well as large corporate sponsors (FedEx, Nike, and PepsiCo) of the Redskins organization. Nike removed all Redskins apparel from their online store until the name changes. There have been debates over when the team name will be changed. Some say that the name changing process will not be changed until after week 1. Others argue that the name change should occur before the season so that fans, players, and coaches focus on the game rather than the controversial name.
With all of the backlash that the organization has received. What options are out there for the name of the team?
- Red Hawks
- Red Hogs
These are only a few options that have been flying around. Head coach Ron Rivera has stated that executives do have a list of candidates however, none were disclosed to the public. With the new name inevitably on the horizon, there will inevitably be new uniforms and helmets. This may put pressure on the organization to decide on before the season opener.