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Redskins fans in Washington, DC gave their reaction to the team’s announcement on Monday that it will change the organisation’s allegedly racist name and logo, giving in to pressure from sponsors and other corporations.
Several corporate partners, including FedEx and Nike, had called on team owners to consider changing the name, as many retail stores and media outlets had already gone ahead with distancing themselves from the organisation by boycotting its merchandise and refusing to display its logo.
The reality had not yet sunk in for fans, who were reluctant to begin imagining a new identity for their beloved team.
“I would rather it be the Redskins because that’s all I know. But I’m going to keep my Redskin hat, my Redskin jersey, and everything. I’m still going to call them ‘Redskins’ – that’s what I’m going to do,” said Mathew Gunter, a fan.
Another fan pointed to the team’s troubled past with racial equality, as it was the last team in the National Football League to integrate black players.
“They were actually the last football team to be integrated, and this team has a name that was very offensive. We joke about it and we say that, ‘Hey, you guys are cursed because you guys got this racist name.’ And no Indian is called a ‘redskin’,” said Martin Sedegah.
The team’s name, which is an offensive term for Native Americans, has been embroiled in controversy for years, with many Native American leaders and civil rights groups voicing their discontent over the last several decades.
The name change came amid increased scrutiny of racism and racial inequality in the United States, as civil unrest has continued for weeks throughout the country following several police killings of African Americans.
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