Race and Economy

Washington’s NFL team is dropping its name and logo

Marielle Segarra Jul 13, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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After pressures from sponsors and retailers, the NFL franchise is changing its name. Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Race and Economy

Washington’s NFL team is dropping its name and logo

Marielle Segarra Jul 13, 2020
After pressures from sponsors and retailers, the NFL franchise is changing its name. Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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Update (July 13, 2020): The former name of Washington, D.C.’s NFL team has been removed from this article.


The Washington, D.C., NFL football team is officially dropping the name it’s used since the 1930s, as well as its logo. It will stop using the image of a Native American head in its branding.

The team has been under pressure to change the name for a long time because it’s a racial slur. The team’s owner, Dan Snyder, has said repeatedly that he would never change it.

But, recently, with the conversation we’re having in this country around racism and injustice, a group of investors and shareholders sent a letter to the team’s sponsors, and those sponsors put pressure on the team — most notably, FedEx, which pays about $8 million a year to have its name on the stadium where the team plays. It threatened to pull out of its sponsorship deal unless there was a name change.

Also, retailers like Amazon, Walmart and Target said that they would stop selling the team’s merchandise. So there was a financial imperative to change it.

The new name has not been announced yet.

But the protests against structural racism that sparked this change and others like it are asking for a lot more than name changes. Black Lives Matter, for example, put out a legislative agenda last week which would redirect funding from policing and prisons, among other structural changes for addressing systemic racism.

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