Under mounting pressure from sponsors and Native American rights groups, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said on Friday he would consider changing the name of the National Football League team whose roots date back to the 1930s.
Snyder, who has previously stated he would not change the name, softened his stance a day after FedEx Corp, which owns the naming rights to the team’s Landover, Maryland, stadium, called for the NFL club to be rebranded.
The NFL team said in a statement that in light of recent events around the country and feedback from the community that it will undergo a thorough review of the 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,” Snyder said in a statement.
On June 26 a group of more than 80 socially minded investment firms, collectively with more than $620 billion in assets under management, had urged FedEx, Nike Inc, and PepsiCo Inc to terminate relationships with the team unless it changed its name.
PepsiCo followed FedEx’s lead in speaking up on Friday. It issued a statement that it welcomed Snyder’s call for a review of the team’s name.
“We have been in conversations with the NFL and Washington management for a few weeks about this issue. We believe it is time for a change,” a PepsiCo representative said on Friday. “We are pleased to see the steps the team announced today, and we look forward to continued partnership.”
The investors group, which includes Trillium Asset Management, Boston Trust Walden, and Native American organizations, in a statement on Friday applauded Snyder along with companies including FedEx and PepsiCo for communicating publicly about the importance of a name change but said the clock is ticking on getting something done.
“We also believe there must be a clear timeline for the review,” said the statement, sent by a Trillium representative. “Delay is not acceptable and the team must move forward with urgency.”
Critics have ramped up pressure on the team to change its name, which is widely seen as a racial slur against Native Americans, after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death on May 25 has triggered worldwide protests against racism and police brutality.