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Report: Washington Redskins plan to officially announce name change today


Long-standing pressure

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Update: After the publication of this article, the team announced the change from its official Twitter account. This article has been updated accordingly.

Confirming a report from Sports Business Daily, the Washington Redskins announced on Monday morning that they are officially changing their name, although the announcement of their new name will be delayed while the team irons out trademark issues.

As recently as last year, team owner Dan Snyder had vowed that he would never change the team's name in spite of protests from some that the term "redskin" is inherently racist.

The team had also been involved in a long-running legal battle over its use of the term after the United States Patent and Trademark Office attempted to revoke the team's trademark on its logo and nickname on the basis that the term was racially disparaging. But the legal fight effectively ended in 2017 when the Supreme Court ruled in an unrelated case that the portion of the Lanham Act that permitted the USPTO to reject racially disparaging trademark applications represented an unconstitutional infringement on freedom of speech.

Since that time, the Redskins have faced increasing social pressure to change their name and their logo — which was designed by a Native American in 1971. In the wake of the protests fueled by the death of George Floyd in police custody, a number of the team's largest investors and minority shareholders sent a letter to the team's major sponsors (including PepsiCo, FedEx, and Nike) asking them to stop doing business until the team's name was changed. The letter and accompanying social pressure seem to have prevailed upon Snyder, as the team announced on July 3 that it would review the team's name with an eye toward a possible name change.

According to ESPN, the team plans to keep its current burgundy and gold color scheme. Current team coach Ron Rivera has also hinted that the team's nickname will in some way honor or refer to the military.

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