“This is part of a much larger movement going on that Indigenous peoples are situated in, and it is a long time coming,” stated Carla Fredericks, the director of First Peoples Worldwide and a longtime advocate in opposition to Native American mascots. “I think that for anyone that is associated with the movement for racial justice this is a significant gain, and this is a significant moment.”
That motion for racial justice is, partly, propelled by the Black Lives Matter motion, and the widespread re-examination of systemic racism — to not point out statues, flags, symbols and mascots that commemorate racist historical past — that was prompted by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. On Monday the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights advocacy group, stated in a press release that it “welcomed the decision of the Washington, D.C., football team to drop the racist ‘Redskins’ name.”
But regardless of the collective energy of previously disparate actions, to not point out the half-century of activist strain, what lastly triggered the identify change was not an acknowledgment of Native individuals’s considerations or a rumination on the identify’s offense. Instead, Daniel Snyder, the proprietor of the Washington N.F.L. group for greater than 20 years, was seemingly pushed by an easier motivation: cash.
In a letter despatched to the Washington group dated July 2, FedEx, which pays about $eight million a yr for the naming rights to the group’s stadium in Landover, Md., stated if the identify wasn’t modified, it could again out of the deal. The menace carried further weight, contemplating that Frederick Smith, the chairman of FedEx, owns a minority stake within the group, which he had been quietly making an attempt to promote for a lot of months.
FedEx was amongst a number of company heavyweights to take motion to persuade Snyder to behave on the identify. Bank of America, Pepsi, Nike and different N.F.L. sponsors issued statements asking the group for a reputation change, and retailers like Walmart, Amazon and Target stopped promoting the group’s merchandise on their web sites and of their shops.