Audrey McNamara – CBS News
The Washington Redskins are undergoing a review of their controversial name, the team announced in a statement on Friday. FedEx, the title sponsor for the team’s stadium, has asked the team to change its name.
“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,” reads the statement. “This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.”
The request from FedEx to the NFL team comes amid weeks of pressure for companies and cities to cut ties with brands, monuments and emblems linked to racism. The term “redskin” is considered a slur against Native Americans.
A 2016 national poll found that nine of 10 Native Americans aren’t offended by the Washington Redskins name.
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has previously resisted changing the name, citing tradition and legacy as reasons for keeping the name. On Friday, he said: “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.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in his own statement that the league has had “ongoing discussions” with Snyder about the name over the last few weeks. “We are supportive of this important step,” he said.
The team’s head coach, Ron Rivera, called the issue one of “personal importance.”
“I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honouring and supporting Native Americans and our Military,” he said in the team’s statement. “We believe this review can and will be conducted with the best interest of all in mind.”