Washington Redskins announce 'thorough review' of name after criticism from FedEx

WATCH: Washington Redskins to undergo review of team name

The Washington Redskins are undergoing a “thorough review” of their team name following criticism from their sponsor FedEx.

According to a statement released by the team and shared on Twitter by NFL insider Adam Schefter, “this review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.”

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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,” the team’s owner Dan Snyder said.

Ron Rivera, the team’s head coach, added: “This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honouring and supporting Native Americans and our Military.”

In an interview with USA Today in 2013, Snyder said: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple.”

The team was pushed towards a name change by the title sponsor of their stadium, FedEx, in a Thursday statement that read: “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.”

The company paid the team $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

In this photo taken May 5, 2013, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder walks by players during a rookie minicamp practice session at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va.

In this photo taken May 5, 2013, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder walks by players during a rookie minicamp practice session at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va.

Evan Vucci / AP

In addition to the stadium name and sponsorship agreement, FedEx CEO Frederik Smith is a minority owner. Snyder has shown no indications he’ll change the name since buying the team in 1999.

Amid nationwide protests against racism, pressure has been mounting on the organization to abandon the name, called a “dictionary-defined racial slur” by experts and advocates.

Investors this week wrote to FedEx, PepsiCo and other sponsors asking them to request a change. FedEx is believed to be the first to take action.

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On Thursday night, Nike appeared to remove all Redskins gear from its online store. The other 31 NFL teams were listed and a search for “Redskins” came up with no results. Nike did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment.

When asked recently about Snyder changing the name, a spokesman said the team had no comment. The team last week removed the name of racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame at FedEx Field and a monument to him was removed from the site of the old RFK Stadium.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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