The Washington Redskins could be honing in on a new name and, according to multiple reports, the decision could come within hours.
Yahoo Sports NFL reporter Charles Robinson said Saturday on a Dallas radio station that Washington “is about to have a new name — over the next 24, 48 hours.” ESPN then added the name change is expected “sooner than later.”
Appearing on 103.3 The Fan, Robinson said he did not know what the name will be, but added he was told that the league is informing teams to “start scrubbing” references to the Redskins on their platforms.
“Which means something’s coming,” Robinson said.
It’s been just 10 days since the Redskins revealed they were starting a “thorough review” of their name, which many deem offensive. They did so after renewed pressure to take action in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Corporate America, in particular, got involved — with FedEx, the team’s naming partner, asking the Redskins to change.
On Friday, The Washington Post reported the existence of a letter that FedEx sent the Redskins in which the shipping company threatened to remove all signage from FedEx Field, Washington’s stadium in Landover, Maryland, following the 2020 season unless the team changed its name.
Such a move would cost the Redskins millions, given FedEx signed a 27-year, $205 million agreement in 1999. In the two-page letter, FedEx indicated the Redskins‘ name poses the risk of hurting the shipping company’s brand — which could be grounds for FedEx to terminate the deal “for cause.” FedEx CEO Fred Smith is part of the Redskins’ ownership group, though has hired an investment banking firm to explore selling his shares.
Elsewhere, a slew of companies — Amazon, Target, Walmart, Nike — have stopped selling Redskins merchandise online amid the team’s review.
The Redskins have refrained from publicly commenting on the process until their review is complete. Washington reportedly still plans on keeping its burgundy-and-gold color scheme, but will not include references to American Indian imagery for its name and logo. Coach Ron Rivera has said the team’s next name will look to be respectful toward American Indians and a tribute to the military.
In the meantime, names like Warriors, Redtails and Red Wolves have emerged as popular candidates among the team’s fanbase.
Red Wolves, in particular, has gained steam online, thanks to an effort from former Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot. The name even trended on Twitter this past week, and has generated some positive feedback from athletes.
In response to a mocked-up “Red Wolves” jersey design, quarterback Dwayne Haskins commented “Not gone hold you. I can (approve) this” underneath an Instagram post from a Redskins fan page. NBA star and Maryland native Kevin Durant also chimed in with four fire emojis.
“The fan base ain’t really trying to change the name, but the Red Wolves got the warmest reception out of all of them,” Smoot told The Washington Times last week.
The Washington Times reported last week that owner Dan Snyder abandoned his pursuit of obtaining a trademark for “Warriors” in 2019 and lost the chance to secure the name earlier this year.
Some fans haven’t embraced the idea of a name change. In a Facebook group named “Redskins Fans Forever,” fan Mark Avery wrote, “THEY can call the team whatever THEY want. I’m going to call them the Redskins. Anyone with me? #KeepTheName.” Stephanie Khano echoed that sentiment, writing, “I was born a Redskin fan and will die a Redskin fan.”
Even if a name change is announced soon, there are still many steps ahead in the rebranding process for Washington, including introducing a new logo, trademarking the new name and updating team materials.
The Redskins are set to start training camp July 28. Rivera previously told The Washington Post that it would “be awesome” if a name change was done in time for the 2020 season, which starts in September.