Washington head coach hopes NFL team changes name before season starts
Ron Rivera working with team owner Dan Snyder to change Indigenous-slur nickname
Washington Redskins head coach Ron Rivera said Saturday he has been working for more than a month with owner Dan Snyder on renaming the team, and he hopes a change can be made before mid-September.
"If we get it done in time for the season, it would be awesome," Rivera told the Washington Post in a phone interview.
The team announced Friday that it was conducting a "thorough review" of the team's name, and multiple outlets reported a change is very likely, with the possibility of it coming before the Sept. 13 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Rivera told the Post that Snyder, who said in 2013 he would "never" change the name, has been discussing a possible change for more than a month and approached the NFL about it in mid-June.
WATCH | Pro sports teams reconsidering Indigenous nicknames:
Rivera said he and Snyder have come up with a few names, including two in particular Rivera likes, but he declined to provide details. The coach, who is the son of an Army officer, did say he and Snyder would like the name to be a tribute to the military, which Rivera alluded to in a statement on Friday.
Corporate pressure toward changing the name mounted this week. Major sponsors FedEx — who owns naming rights to the team's stadium, and whose founder and CEO is a team minority owner — PepsiCo and Nike each voiced preferences to change the name, along with a number of smaller partners.
Nike's website removed all Redskins merchandise Thursday, and Washington remains the only one of the 32 NFL teams no longer listed in the index.
The franchise began using the Redskins nickname in 1933, when it was based in Boston and previously called the Braves. Team owner George Preston Marshall moved the club to Washington in 1937.
A statue of Marshall was removed from the team's former Washington venue, RFK Stadium, on June 19 in the wake of protests seeking racial equality following the death of George Floyd. Under Marshall's leadership, Washington was the last NFL team to integrate, adding its first Black players in 1962.
What the new name might be is unclear. But in 2009, the Washington City Paper said Snyder previously bought the franchise rights for an Arena Football League team and registered trademarks for the name Washington Warriors with a logo and helmet design that featured an arrow and a feather.