During an interview with USA Today in 2013, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was defiant in his refusal to ever change the team’s name—so much so that he even used absolutes.
“We’ll never change the name of the team,” Snyder said at the time. “It’s that simple. NEVER—you can use caps.”
And for all intents and purposes, he wasn’t lying.
When the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademark registration in 2014 on the grounds that the team’s logo and name were “disparaging,” Snyder didn’t budge. When Indigenous groups staged multiple protests throughout the years in order to address the “dictionary-defined racial slur” that the team was named after, Snyder paid them no mind. But last week, when big money sponsors such as FedEx, PepsiCo, Nike and Bank of America put the lean on him and told him that that Redskins bullshit’s gotta go—Nike and Amazon even pulled Washington’s merch from their stores—suddenly Synder was all ears. Imagine that!
Then on Monday morning, the bomb dropped:
“Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review,” the team said in a statement. “Dan Snyder and Coach Rivera 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.”
So does that mean Snyder’s infamous “never” should’ve been in all lower case instead?
Of course, he finally folded. Because if history has taught us anything, be it the abolishment of slavery in order to enlist more manpower for the Civil War, the conclusion of the Montgomery bus boycotts or plenty of other instances, it’s that without a financial incentive to change, good luck getting those in power to ever do what’s right. Be it the government, corporate entities, or the artist formerly known as the Washington Redskins.
No word on what the new name and logo will be, but Washington’s quarterback Dwayne Haskins has a damn good suggestion.
“I like the Red Tails,” he tweeted.
The Red Tails, of course, being the nickname that the Tuskegee Airmen gave themselves during World War II—not the terrible movie that George Lucas and our beloved Aaron McGruder often pretend never exists.
Atlanta Braves? Cleveland Indians? You’re on the clock.