One development in the process is that the organization is not expected to use Native American imagery with its new name and logo, according to a person familiar with the deliberations of the team and league, but the person cautioned that plans are not finalized. ESPN also reported Wednesday the franchise is not planning to use native imagery.
“In effect, [the review] buys time [to study possibilities],” one person familiar with the review said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private process.
The name change remains a topic of national discussion, with President Trump saying this week that the Redskins and Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball were cowing to political correctness in considering changes. On Wednesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who in 2014 expressed support for the team keeping the name, said that he “absolutely” agrees that “Redskins” is a slur and that he thinks the team should change the name.
“The time is probably right,” Hogan said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show. “I’m glad that they’re having that discussion. I believe that the name will be changed. … I understand it’s a hurtful name, and in today’s context it probably should be changed.”
In an interview Saturday, Washington Coach Ron Rivera said he has been talking with Snyder about the team’s name for more than a month, adding that the two have exchanged ideas on possible replacements, including two that Rivera “really liked.” Rivera also said Snyder had been working with NFL executives on the issue for more than two weeks.
Though multiple people with knowledge of the situation say Snyder has sought advice on the name issue from Jay Leveton, a partner in the Stagwell Group, a Washington-based marketing firm, the firm is not believed to be running the review.
Rivera said he hoped the new name would be in place by the start of the season, though multiple people with knowledge of the situation said an announcement could come sooner, with at least one believing it could be revealed within the next two weeks.
It is unclear whether Snyder already has settled on a name. Rivera’s comments seemed to indicate a small pool of likely contenders, but he didn’t provide more details.
Rivera said repeatedly that he and Snyder want the name to “honor” Native Americans as well as the military. (The Redskins have long had a close relationship with the military, based in part on the franchise’s geographical connection to military headquarters.) The coach said he hopes the franchise will reach out to Native American leaders and military officials to be sure the name the team picks will be respectful to both.
It is unknown whether the Redskins have approached tribal leaders or advocacy groups for guidance. Several Native American leaders said this week that they have not heard from the team or the NFL regarding the name review and emphasized the importance that they have a voice in the discussion.
On Tuesday, Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, who started the Change the Mascot campaign, said the team had not reached out to him, though he said the Oneida Indian Nation is “expecting to hear something at some point.”
When asked whether it was essential for the team to seek input from Native Americans, he said: “It’s critically important.”
“It’s like having a discussion about your family life and not including your spouse,” he added. “How can you have a discussion about changing a team name that is denigrating and dehumanizing to the very people that you’re affecting? It only makes reasonable sense that you would have a discussion with those people.”
Crystal Echo Hawk, the founder of IllumniNative, an organization that brings together Native American story tellers and grass-roots leaders and also opposes the Redskins name, expressed concern that talk of honoring both Native Americans and the military with the new name would mean the team would continue to use native imagery, something she believes many Native Americans would oppose.
“There is no good way to honor native people by making mascots around them,” she said.
Mark Maske, Erin Cox, Adam Kilgore and Roman Stubbs contributed to this report.