The Washington Redskins are in trouble. Not the team as such, but the name. The team is going to be forced to change its name as soon as possible due to complaints that it’s linked to racist and offensive connotations, and one of the happenings that triggered this pressure on owner Dan Snyder was the death of George Floyd.
Despite forever saying that the Redskins would always be known as the Redskins, the team has seen a turn of events over the weekend that are going to almost certainly lead to change.
Redskins Minority Owners Pull Out
Due to the current social equality situation, the three minority owners of the Skins are looking to selling their stakes because they’re not happy with majority owner Dan Snyder. He has shown an unwillingness to change the team’s name, and the stakeholders are influential and important busines people: Robert Rothman, Dwight Schar and Frederick Smith, who own 40% of the team. They have reportedly already shopped around for a broker to help with the sale, much to the surprise of Snyder.
Frederick Smith, CEO of FedEx, has been assertive on the name change because FedEx has naming rights of the stadium. As a result, and despite Snyder’s belief that Smith would forever be in his corner, the executive now feels uncomfortable with Snyder. Smith has advised a name change for many years and some league members have felt surprised with this concern.
The pressure on Snyder about the team’s name change is influenced by human rights activist groups that state that behind this name there is racism, offense and abuse of the identity of native Indians. Moreover, police brutality has triggered the sustained protests across the US; if the Redskins refuses to change its name, they might suffer a financial breakdown because many companies will decide to stop doing business with them.
New Skins Coach Welcomes A Change
News reports say that coach Ron Rivera, who just came on board this year, and Snyder are actively working to find a new name for the team so the conflict and media pressure can stop. He told The Washington Post over the weekend that a “thorough review” is now underway, and that he would like to see a new name before the start of the upcoming season – if there is one.
However, a change may not come soon enough. Nike announced that, unless there is a new name for the team, they will not carry any products featuring the Skins logo. Nike is the official uniform provider for the Redskins, so the team must come up with a name as soon as possible to allow Nike enough time to manufacture new jerseys and give them to distributors. So many things are at risk, not only the financial stability, but also the team’s reputation and even its existence.
Snyder Could Be Forced To Cave Under Pressure
Snyder is facing high-pitched pressure because 87 different shareholders asked Nike, PepsiCo and FedEx to end their business relations with the team because of the name; this means that the NFL team is on the brink of a financial crisis. Snyder was adamant against changing the team’s name at the beginning, but after all this turmoil he has gone through, he was forced to accept the stakeholders’ petition.
Snyder has been the team owner since 1999 and he said in the past that he would never change the team’s name. However, he now has corporate entities that wield power over the team and the league. Snyder should consider the name change as something very serious because Nike is the official provider for the uniform and other gear, and they have a business contract through 2028.
This situation is not new; Snyder received some pressure to change the team’s name over the years, but he has shown himself stubborn and controversial. He might think that the minority owners might have a hard time finding a buyer, which isn’t likely.
Maybe this NFL team needs a new owner, someone who is not that obstinate and more willing to accept the corporations’ demands. Let’s hope that Snyder and Rivera come up with a new name soon so all this conflict comes to an end.