US: Washington NFL team to 'retire' Redskins name

The team are coming up with a new name after years of pressure from anti-racism activists

Arguably the most polarising name in North American professional sports is gone at a time of reckoning over racial injustice, iconography and racism in the US. AP
Arguably the most polarising name in North American professional sports is gone at a time of reckoning over racial injustice, iconography and racism in the US. AP

The Washington NFL team is dropping the word 'redskins' from its name after 87 years.

Native American advocates and experts have long criticised the name they call a “dictionary-defined racial slur”.

The sports franchise announced it would review the name on July 3, and ten days later announced it would be coming up with a new moniker.

In a statement released on Twitter, the club announced it was "retiring the Redskins name and logo".

Over a dozen Native leaders and organisations wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week demanding an immediate end to Washington’s use of the name.

Mr Goodell, who has fielded questions on the topic for years, said he supported the review.

Washington recently started cutting ties with racist founder George Preston Marshall, removing his name from the Ring of Fame and renaming the lower bowl at FedEx Field for the team’s first Black player, late Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell.

Marshall, who renamed the Boston Braves the Redskins in 1933 and moved it to Washington DC four years later, was a segregationist and the last NFL owner to integrate their team. The current logo shows the profile of a red-faced Native American with feathers in his hair.

Owner Dan Snyder originally said he would never change the name or logo, but pressure has mounted as the conversation about racial injustice in the US has grown. FedEx Corp, which owns the naming rights to the team's Landover, Maryland, stadium, have also urged the NFL club to rebrand.

Updated: July 13, 2020 05:49 PM

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