WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington NFL franchise announced it is dropping the “Redskins” name and Indian head logo, bowing to recent pressure from sponsors and decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans.
A new name must still be selected for one of the oldest and most storied teams in the National Football League, and it’s unclear how soon that will happen. But for now, arguably the most polarizing name in North American professional sports is gone at a time of reckoning over racial injustice, iconography and racism in the U.S.
The team said it is “retiring” the name and logo and that owner Dan Snyder and coach Ron Rivera are working closely to develop a new moniker and design. The announcement came on the old letterhead with the Redskins name because the team technically retains it until a new one is approved.
The “R” in “Hail to the Redskins” could soon be replaced by Redtails, Redwolves or Redhawks. Redtails or Red Tails — an homage to the Tuskegee Airmen from World War II — is the favorite on online sportsbook BetOnline, and the group said it “would be honored and pleased to work with the organization during and after the (name change) process, should this name be adopted.”
This will be the NFL’s first name change since the late 1990s when the Tennessee Oilers became the Titans two seasons after moving from Houston.
The announcement came less than two weeks after Snyder, a boyhood fan of the team who once declared he would never get rid of the name, launched a “thorough review” amid pressure from sponsors. FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America all lined up against the name, which was given to the franchise in 1933 when the team was still based in Boston.
CLEVELAND (AP) — The spotlight for change is shining on the Cleveland Indians.
Now that the NFL’s Washington Redskins have retired their contentious nickname and logo after decades of objection and amid a nationwide movement calling for racial justice, the Indians appear to be the next major sports franchise that might assume a new identity.
Along with the Indians, who recently announced they are in the early stages of evaluating a name change for the first time in 105 years, the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks and Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are among those facing backlash along with the potential of sponsors pulling their financial support.
For some, the time has come for widespread changes to sports nicknames, mascots and symbols as the country reckons with its legacy of racism.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves say they have no plans to follow the lead of the NFL’s Washington Redskins and change their team name.
The tomahawk chop chant used by Braves fans is under review, however.
The team said in a letter to seaso-ticket holders that it is seeking input from the Native American community, fans, players and former players as it examines the fan experience, including the chant.
The Braves say they have established a “cultural working relationship” with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina and formed a Native American Working Group.
The name came with the team on its move from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966. The name was adopted in 1912, when the team was based in Boston.
DENVER (AP) — All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon, the first major league player known to have tested positive for the coronavirus, returned to the Colorado Rockies for his first workout after getting the all clear to rejoin his teammates.
Blackmon said he was only mildly affected by the virus that has killed more than 130,000 Americans and claimed more than a half-million lives worldwide.
He said his illness wasn’t even as bad as the flu, adding that he had taken all the usual precautions with his family: sheltering at home, social distancing and wearing a mask when out in public.
He said he has no idea how he contracted the virus but was lucky not to get as sick as so many others.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Houston’s Russell Westbrook hasn’t made it to the NBA restart yet.
The coronavirus did — but health protocols seemed to work as the league and its players hoped they would.
On a day of troubling news for the league — Westbrook revealing that he has tested positive for the virus and two other players facing 10-day quarantines for leaving the league campus perimeter at Walt Disney World — it was also announced that two players tested positive for the virus after arriving in Central Florida last week.
But neither of those positive players ever made it out of quarantine, so neither entered the so-called bubble and could mingle freely with other players, coaches and staff. The NBA said both players, neither of whom were identified, “have since left the Campus to isolate at home or in isolation housing.” They could rejoin their teams later.
It’s unclear when Westbrook will arrive. As recently as Sunday, the Rockets believed that Westbrook, NBA scoring leader James Harden and newly re-acquired Luc Mbah a Moute — none of the three traveled with the team to Walt Disney World near Orlando last week — would be with the team in the next few days.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Patriot League joined the Ivy League, punting on football and other fall sports because of the coronavirus pandemic while holding out hope the games can be made up.
The Patriot League said its 10 Division I schools will also not compete in men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and field hockey. The conference’s council of presidents said the league will consider playing those seasons in the winter and spring if possible.
The conference is mostly comprised of private schools located in the Northeast that offer limited athletic scholarships. Pennsylvania rivals Lehigh and Lafayette have played 155 times, more than any opponents in college football history.
Army and Navy are also Patriot League members, but not in football.
The Patriot League competes in Division I’s second tier of college football (FCS) like the Ivy League, which announced a similar decision last week. Unlike the Ivy League, the Patriot League participates in the FCS playoffs.
NEW YORK (AP) — Elena Delle Donne’s request to be medically excused from the WNBA season was denied, according to the league’s reigning MVP.
The Washington Mystics star said in a statement that the independent panel of doctors the league and union agreed upon to decide whether players should be medically excused deemed her not to be “high risk, and should be permitted to play in the bubble.”
Had Delle Donne been medically excused, she would have earned her entire salary for the season. Now, if she chooses not to play, the defending WNBA champion Mystics wouldn’t have to pay her.
Delle Donne has battled Lyme disease since 2008. The disease is not included on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of underlying conditions that could put someone at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
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