July 4 (UPI) — The Washington Redskins announced Friday that the team will “undergo a thorough review” of the team’s name.
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” team owner Dan Snyder said in a press release posted to Twitter.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday that the league is “supportive of this important step.”
The team’s announcement has led to speculation that it is on the edge of changing its name, which it has long resisted doing despite criticism by Native American activists.
The name has come under increased scrutiny this summer amid anti-racist demonstrations around the country after the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota at the end of May, and this week corporations linked with the team ratcheted up pressure to change the name.
On Thursday FedEx, which holds the naming rights to the Redskins’ stadium, asked the team to change its name. Frederick Smith, that company’s chairman, CEO and president, also holds a minority stake in the team.
Also Thursday, Nike appeared to have removed all Redskins gear from its store, and PepsiCo was reportedly under pressure to sever its sponsorship unless the team changed its name.