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Washington Redskins might change its name as sponsors threaten to pull the plug

'Redskins' is considered a racial slur against Native Americans. In the present atmosphere, it looks like the name just has to go or the brands will.

'What's in a name?' wrote William Shakespeare.

For Washington Redskins, a National Football League (NFL) team in the US, the name is its pride, but it stands to become a bane as well.

"In light of the recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team's name," the team said in a statement on July 3. The NFL is supportive of this step.

Turns out that the word 'Redskins' is considered a racial slur against Native Americans. Is this enough to make a team, that was founded in 1932, to change its name? Probably not. As per a USA Today report in May 2013, team owner Daniel Snyder had (then) said, "We will never change the name of the team." So, what has changed now?

Well, this time it's the team’s sponsors who're leading the demand for change. AdWeek reported that 87 investment firms and shareholders asked Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to end their relationship with the team, unless it agrees to change its name.

FedEx, the multinational delivery company, told NFL.com, "We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name." FedEx also holds the naming rights to the team's stadium, for which it paid $205 million in 1998; the deal stays till 2025.

As of now, Nike has removed all Washington Redskins gear from its website. Walmart, America's biggest retailer, tweeted, "... we are discontinuing the sale of items that reference the team’s name and logo."

The name change isn't only restricted to American football. Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians is also looking to change its name.

While several American teams are named after, or have taken inspiration from, Native Americans, the recent uprising against racial injustice has cast a dark light on these names and forced teams, and even brands, to reconsider them.

Also Read: Quaker Oats retires Aunt Jemima line of syrups, foods

Recently, PepsiCo's Quaker Oats retired the line of Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrups because the company acknowledged the name and logo is based on a racial stereotype.

US President Donald Trump, however, criticised the teams for thinking to change their names. He tweeted, "They name teams out of strength, not weakness. But now the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct.”