Washington's NFL team to announce name change on Monday: reports

Washington's NFL team to announce name change on Monday: reports
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Washington, D.C.'s NFL team on Monday will reportedly announce plans to retire the "Redskins" name, as the franchise comes under growing pressure to change a name that is viewed as a racist slur against Native Americans.

The franchise is not expected to reveal a new name on Monday, The Washington Post reported, citing three people with knowledge of the situation. Two people told the newspaper that the team's preferred new name is tied up in a trademark battle. Though one person said that the new name could be disclosed within two weeks. 

The Sports Business Journal first reported on the development. The team did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill. 

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The planned announcement comes less than two weeks after longtime owner Dan Snyder said the franchise would undergo a "thorough review" of the team's name, which has been used since 1933. Snyder had long defended the name despite a years-long push from Native American tribes, politicians and activists for it to be changed.

“We’ll never change the name,” Snyder said to USA Today in 2013. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

But as protests calling for racial justice swept the nation following the May 25 death of George Floyd while in police custody, the team came under greater pressure from sponsors to change the name. 

FedEx, which has naming rights for the stadium where Washington plays, on July 2 wrote to Snyder asking him to change the team's nickname. Nike also pulled the team's merchandise from its website around that time. 

Dozens of investment firms and shareholders also sent letters to the leaders of Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo calling on the companies to sever business ties with the franchise unless it changed its name. The letters were reportedly signed by 87 firms holding more than $620 billion in assets. 

Snyder cited "recent events around our country and feedback from our community" while announcing the review of the team's name. 

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"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," Snyder said.

Head coach Ron Rivera said in early July that he began talking with Snyder about a name change in late May, right as tribal leaders and activists renewed their campaign for the term "Redskins" to be retired. 

“We came up with a couple of names — two of them I really like,” Rivera told the Post, adding that he wanted the new name to be respectful of Native American culture and serve as a tribute to the military. 

--Updated at 8:16 a.m.