Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Week 14 opponent, Washington, officially says farewell to criticized ‘Redskins’ name

Jul 13, 2020 at 6:46 AM--

Eighty-seven years of Washington's use of the often-criticized and offensive moniker "Redskins" is over. The team has officially announced that, moving forward, it will be known by a different name. What that name will be hasn't been made public, reportedly because of pending trademark issues. Washington is working to establish a new team name before the start of the 2020 season.

Editor's note: Once Washington's new name is announced, bear with us as we attempt to change the various instances of the former team name throughout this site.

ESPN reported on Sunday night that an announcement was coming.

"Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review," the team said in a statement on Monday morning. "Dan Snyder and Coach (Ron) Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition-rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans, and community for the next 100 years."

The team notes that the announcement is an effort to keep "sponsors, fans, and community appraised of our thinking as we go forward."

Washington has used the former name since 1933. That came a year after the team's first season, when it was known as the Boston Braves, and four years before its relocation to the Washington, D.C. area.

Washington has long been under pressure to change its name. The most recent demands to owner Dan Snyder come as racial tensions grip the country, public awareness is at an all-time high, and after mounting pressure from advertisers affiliated with the franchise.

One advertiser, FedEx, which owns the naming rights to Washington's home stadium, called for a name change. Frederick Smith, who is FedEx's chairman, CEO, and president, owns a minority stake in the team.

"We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name," FedEx said in a statement.

There was also a report from The Washington Post that FedEx informed Washington that it would remove all company signage from the stadium following the 2020 season should the name not be changed. The company reportedly stated the team name would harm the image and reputation of FedEx's brand, and that it goes against the company's ideals.

Nike pulled all of Washington's team gear from its online storefront. Other advertisers followed with threats to sever ties with the team.

Washington, on July 3, released a statement announcing that the team would "undergo a thorough review" of its name, setting in motion a path to make a change.

"In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team's name," the statement read. "This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks ... We believe this review can and will be conducted with the best interest of all in mind."

Soon after, Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians announced that they too would open discussions about a potential name change.

The San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to play Washington at Levi's Stadium during the upcoming season on Sunday, December 13. One athlete who played for both organizations, safety Donte Whitner, said its time for a change.

"I'm for changing the names," Whitner said. "Cleveland Indians, that's offensive. The Indians, they were done very dirty in the history of America. And the Redskins, I think the same thing. I think they should change the name."

Whitner played three seasons (2011-13) with the 49ers and finished his NFL career with one season (2016) in Washington.

The Atlanta Braves, however, aren't looking to make any changes.

"We are so proud of our team's name, and our expectation is that we will always be the Atlanta Braves," said the team's top executive, Terry McGuirk.

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