For 87 years, Washington DC’s football team has gone by the racial slur the “Redskins,” with a logo the head of what is referred to as an “Indian brave” (referring to a Native American warrior), a nod to the team’s original name the Boston Braves. After decades of mounting pressure from Indigenous groups and fans, the team’s owner, pale face Dan Snyder, has finally agreed to change the team’s name according to ESPN.
Since the early 2000s, Indigenous groups have sued, petitioned, and organized letter writing campaigns requesting a name change, citing the many ways that the logo and the name are offensive and degrading to Native American culture using facts, figures, and even psychological studies. But Snyder’s change of heart comes only after “87 investors and shareholders with a total worth of $620 billion” sent a letter to a group of team sponsors, including “FedEx, PepsiCo, and Nike, asking them to stop doing business with the team unless the name was changed,” ESPN reports. The team also plans to stop using its current logo but will retain its hideous trademark colors of burgundy and gold.
While it is currently unknown what the new name will be, there are still pending trademark issues pending according to ESPN. (Might I suggest the Washington Fillibusters, an excellent name for a team representing DC that has also wasted everyone’s time and money.)
The Oneida Indian Nation, the Navajo Nation Council, the tribal governments of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Chocktaw, Creek, and Seminole Nations, and the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona have opposed the name, to reference a few million people. But alas, despite the tireless efforts of tribal councils with intimate knowledge of their own history and the bastardization of Native American imagery, it wasn’t until FedEx (a company that owns a percentage of the team and the stadium they play in) threatened to cease doing business with the team that Dan Snyder’s colonizer heart melted to the plight that had been in front of him since before his birth. Over the years, Snyder became famous for repeating that he would never ever change the team’s name or its mascot. In 2013, Snyder told USA Today, “We will never change the name of the team,” despite the fact there was a trademark lawsuit happening at the time involving a member of the Navajo Nation. “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
Perhaps Snyder will consider changing the team motto as well: “Never say never,” printed in all caps.