Ron Rivera, head coach of the NFL’s Washington franchise, thinks it “would be awesome” if the team gets a new name before the 2020 season, suggesting that owner Dan Snyder’s “thorough review” of the club’s identity will, in fact, result in the replacement of the “Redskins” nickname used since 1933. According to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, however, at least one of the franchise’s minority owners had already been advocating for a name change for years.
Frederick W. Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx, which owns naming rights to Washington’s stadium and recently put public pressure on Snyder to change the name, years ago began “trying to get Snyder to change the name,” per Florio. Not only that, but he reportedly became so dissatisfied with the “Redskins” name, which is considered by some to be a racial slur toward Native Americans — as well as other issues that he, along with fellow minority owner Dwight Schar, “had actively been trying to sell their pieces of the team.”
Smith and Schar have, to date, been unsuccessful in selling their shares of the franchise, Florio added, but their apparent interest in re-branding or disassociating with the team adds a new layer to an intensifying situation.
Snyder, of course, had previously been adamant that Washington would “never” change its nickname. Amid recent pressure from Smith and FedEx, as well as Nike, Pepsi and federal officials, the owner issued a formal statement saying the name would undergo an official review, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell declaring his support for a potential change.