The Washington NFL team’s controversial name is one step closer to being put to bed.
The team announced Monday a name change is imminent, ousting the polarizing name and mascot that dates back almost 87 years. On July 3, the team started a “thorough review” of the name “Redskins,” which is widely considered a derogatory slur against Native Americans.
After 10 days, Washington’s owner, Dan Snyder, is ready to listen to the public calls for a change. According to a release, Snyder will involve newly hired Washington coach Ron Rivera, a Latino man, while coming up with a new name and uniform design.
“Dan Snyder and Coach 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 statement read.
Rivera, who was hired last December, hasn’t been shy about his opinion of the former name, telling The Washington Post on July 4 he hoped the name would be changed before the start of the 2020 season.
Washington has 12 days to make Rivera’s wish come true. If coronavirus doesn’t postpone the start of NFL training camp, Washington will return to the practice field on July 25 and possibly in some new digs. The team hasn’t laid out a timetable for a name change, but a rebranding of uniforms, team apparel and logos could take some time once a new name is announced.
According to an ESPN report, there’s a chance Washington already has a new name in mind and an announcement could come as soon as this week.
There has been some speculation and lobbying for the new team name. According to odds released Monday by Bovada, a popular offshore betting site, the Red Tails and Red Clouds are the leaders in the clubhouse at +275 each. “Red Tails” was originally the nickname for the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black men to fly planes for the U.S. military.
Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins gave the name an early endorsement on Twitter, saying he liked it if the team had to change the name.
The Warriors are next at +300 and the Presidents, Monuments, Americans, Hogs, Generals, and Federals are all less than +1000 odds.
While it’s unclear exactly what sparked Snyder’s decision to change the team’s name, it’s worth noting the team’s owner since 1999 has vehemently opposed a change in the past.
In 2013, Snyder told a USA Today reporter “we will never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
While public opinion around the name has always been polarizing, the recent shift brought on by racial injustices in the country led to heightened scrutiny last month. That scrutiny led to pressure from sponsors to retire the name, with Nike taking all apparel with the nickname off its website and FedEx reportedly threatening to remove its signs from FedEx Field, where the team plays.
Pepsi joined in on the group, too, releasing a statement to point out the company’s efforts to get the name changed through talks with the NFL and Washington’s leaders.
Even though there was financial pressure, Washington was reportedly already in the process of exploring a name change, although the announcement of the “thorough review” came after the pressure was applied.
The decision was met with a positive reaction from Haskins, a Highland Park, N.J., native who grew up a Washington fan.
“As a kid who grew up in the [area] it’ll always be [Hail to the Redskins] but looking forward to the future,” Haskins posted on Twitter, sharing the team’s official statement.