The Washington Redskins will officially announce Monday morning that they will be changing their nickname, though no new name will be revealed just yet, a source confirmed Sunday night.
It had been widely expected that Washington would change its name, and one source said Saturday night that an announcement of a new name would come soon.
Sports Business Daily, which first reported Monday’s official announcement, reported that the new name would not be announced yet because trademark issues are pending.
Last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the franchise would not use any Native American imagery. Washington’s logo of an Indian chief had been designed by a Native American in 1971.
Another source told ESPN that the plan, as of now, is to retain the franchise’s use of burgundy and gold colors. Coach Ron Rivera had said the team wanted to include the military in its new name, as well.
The franchise said on July 3 that it would undergo a thorough review of its 87-year old name that some viewed as offensive. By that point, multiple sources said, team owner Dan Snyder already was engaged in talks with the league about a possible new name. Multiple sources said the name would be changing, but there was nothing official from the team.
Snyder had, for years, resisted any consideration to change the name — telling USA Today Sports in 2013 to “put it in all caps” that he would never make such a move. Some who have worked for Snyder said they believed he would rather sell the team than use a new name. While it’s uncertain what the next name will be, it is one that a source close to the situation said that Snyder was excited about.
Snyder had owned the rights in the Washington area to any possible expansion by the Arena Football League, and he was expected to name that team the Warriors, even attempting to trademark the name — a quest he had abandoned.
Snyder and the franchise were under more pressure to change Washington’s nickname after the protests and riots following the May death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Within a few weeks after Floyd’s death, multiple sources said Snyder had been discussing the name for several weeks with the league.
During this time, a letter signed by 87 investors and shareholders with a total worth of $620 billion was sent to sponsors FedEx, PepsiCo and Nike, asking them to stop doing business with the team unless the name was changed. When that came out in an Adweek.com story on July 1, multiple people — including current and former employees — echoed the same thought: It’s over. Most, if not all, were unaware that a possible change was already in the works.
On July 2, FedEx issued a statement saying it had told the team it wanted the name changed. The other sponsors later released statements saying the same. Amazon said it would stop selling Redskins merchandise. Walmart and Target said it would stop selling their gear in stores. And according to The Washington Post, FedEx said it would remove its signage from the stadium unless the name was changed for the 2021 season.
FedEx signed a 27-year deal for $205 million in 1998. Their owner and CEO, Fred Smith, has been a minority shareholder in the franchise since 2003. However, according to multiple reports, he and the other minority investors, Dwight Schar and Bob Rothman, want to sell their stakes.
Snyder, his sister and his mom own 60% of the franchise.