Football NFL’s Washington Redskins confirm name and logo change
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NFL’s Washington Redskins confirm name and logo change

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The National Football League’s Washington franchise has confirmed it will retire the Redskins name and logo that has been used since 1933.

The name has long been criticised as racist by Native American rights groups.

Team owner Dan Snyder, who bought the franchise in 1999, had said he would never change the name.

He softened his stance after FedEx Corp, which owns the naming rights to the team’s stadium, urged the NFL club to rebrand.

The team said on July 3 it would conduct a thorough review of the club’s name.

“Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review,” it said in a statement on Tuesday (Australian time).

Washington has provided no timeline for when its review will be completed and the statement did not specify a reason for the name change.

Snyder and Ron Rivera, the team’s new head coach, “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 team said.

Redtails, Generals and Presidents have emerged as favourites.

Critics have ramped up pressure on the team to the name – widely seen as a racial slur against Native Americans – amid the nationwide reckoning on racism and police brutality.

Among them is US President Donald Trump, who slammed the move as “politically correct” in early July.

“They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct,” he tweeted.

But just weeks earlier, a group of more than 80 socially-minded investment firms had urged FedEx, Nike Inc and PepsiCo Inc to terminate their relationships with the team unless the name was changed .

PepsiCo and Nike both followed FedEx’s lead and said they welcomed the call for a review of the team’s name.

The team that became the Washington Redskins was founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves.

Its name was changed to the Redskins the following year and it moved to Washington in 1937.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball’s Atlanta said it had no plans to follow the lead of Washington and change its team name.

“We will always be the Atlanta Braves,” the team said in a letter to season ticket holders on Friday.

The letter was obtained by The Associated Press on Monday.

The tomahawk chop chant used by Braves fans is under review, however.

-with AAP