Redskins announce review of name after sponsor threat

Washington Redskins head coach Ron Rivera holds up a helmet during a news conference at the team’s NFL football training facility in Ashburn, Virginia, Jan. 2, 2020. (AP Photo)
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Updated 03 July 2020

Redskins announce review of name after sponsor threat

  • Washington owner Dan Snyder has long been resistant to changing the team’s name, which is widely considered offensive to Native Americans
  • Following protests over the death of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of police on May 25, the Redskins’ name has come under renewed scrutiny

WASHINGTON: The Washington Redskins have launched a review of the team’s name, the NFL franchise said Friday, following a fresh wave of calls to scrap the moniker long-criticized as racist.
In a statement which came just 24 hours after Washington’s stadium sponsor FedEx demanded a name change, the franchise said it would undertake a “thorough review” of the Redskins tag.
“In light of 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.
“This review formalizes the initial discussions the has been having with the league in recent weeks.”
Washington owner Dan Snyder had long been resistant to changing the team’s name, which is widely considered offensive to Native Americans.
“We’ll never change the name,” Snyder said in 2018. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
However following the protests which have swept across the United States following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of police on May 25, the Redskins’ name has come under renewed scrutiny.
Reports this week said that FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo. all received letters from 87 investment firms asking the companies and others to sever its ties with the Redskins over the name.
On Thursday, US delivery giant FedEx Corp. — which paid $205 million to the Redskins in 1998 for the naming rights to the team’s stadium — confirmed it had requested the team change its name.
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx said in a one-sentence statement.
Team owner Snyder said on Friday the team planned to canvas opinion from across the community in its name change review.
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the NFL and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell meanwhile welcomed the move, revealing the league had been engaged in extensive discussions with Washington about the matter.
“In the last few weeks we have had ongoing discussions with Dan and we are supportive of this important step,” Goodell said in a statement.
Washington head coach Ron Rivera, one of only a handful of minority head coaches in the NFL, was also supportive of the move.
“This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military,” Rivera said in a statement.


Al-Hilal win Riyadh derby to edge closer to 16th title win

Updated 26 min 49 sec ago

Al-Hilal win Riyadh derby to edge closer to 16th title win

  • In their first game after a five-month break because of the pandemic, the league leaders enjoyed a comfortable 4-1 victory over their closest rivals

RIYADH: Al-Hilal took a major step toward regaining the Saudi Professional League (SPL) on Wednesday as they secured a 4-1 victory over reigning champions Al-Nassr in a top-of-the-table clash at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium.

The league leaders went into the Riyadh derby six points clear of their city rivals, knowing that a win would strike a decisive blow in the title race. A record 16th championship now looks inevitable, barring an unforeseen — and unlikely — collapse.

The SPL, like all other sporting events in the Kingdom, was put on hold on March 14 to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The competition resumed on Tuesday with five matches, and Al-Hilal’s triumph the following night completed the season’s 23rd round of games. Seven matches are now all that separate Al-Hilal from another title. Games are being played behind closed doors, with no spectators.

Al-Nassr, who were unbeaten in four games against their opponents, started off on the front foot, adopting a high-pressure approach that seemed to be disrupting Al-Hilal’s build-up play. Nevertheless, it was Al-Hilal who broke the deadlock with a goal on 35 minutes, as Sebastian Giovinco delivered a firm finish after collecting Mohammed Al-Breik’s low cross.

With the last move of the half, however, Al-Nassr equalized through a fierce strike by Sultan Al-Ghanam. Goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf got a hand to the ball but could not prevent it crashing into the roof of the net.

Nine minutes after the break, Al-Hilal went ahead for a second time when Bafétimbi Gomis dispatched a penalty past Brad Jones, celebrating the goal in his unique, crawling style. This time, the lead would not be relinquished.

Five minutes later, Carlos Eduardo looked to have settled the match when he grabbed Al-Hilal’s third after some questionable defending.

Al-Nassr briefly improved after falling two behind, however, and on 66 minutes Nordin Amrabat was presented with a golden opportunity to cut the deficit in half after skipping through the Al-Hilal defense, only for his shot to be deflected wide for a corner.

With just over 10 minutes left, a superb cross by Salem Al-Dawsari was expertly dispatched by Gomis to put the result beyond any doubt and assure Al-Hilal of a nine-point lead in the SPL.

“After a long break you must come back strongly,” Al-Dawsari said. “We have high expectations, regardless of whether we had won or lost the match. As you saw today we achieved the win and we still have bigger ambitions to go for the title.”

Al-Dawsari played a part in two of the goals and stood out as one of the fittest-looking players after the lengthy hiatus.

“I’m a professional player and during the break I was expected to look after myself,” he said. “The league was not over. So you have to set your own fitness schedule.

“Yes, the break was long but our coaching staff were watching us and our training was ongoing throughout. After the long disruption we had a duty to entertain our fans, especially in a derby match. Today we put on a performance worthy of Al-Hilal. It’s sad to play big matches like this without fans but hopefully they will be back soon.”

Al-Hilal defender Ali Al-Bulaihi echoed these comments, praising his team-mates for their superior fitness and confidence.

“Our preparation meant we came back strongly after the break,” he said. “We were confident we would put on good performance and that showed in the result.”

He acknowledged, however, that a few defensive lapses could have cost the league leaders.

“We’ve been working recently on our defending,” he added. “If you notice, Al-Nassr’s few dangerous attacks came from our mistakes. Hopefully we can avoid that in the future.”

While Al-Bulaihi refused to be drawn on whether he believes the title is now all but secured, Al-Hilal fans will already be planning their celebrations after such a comprehensive victory over their closest challengers.

Earlier in the day, Al-Shabab enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 victory over fourth-placed Al-Wehda to end the day in seventh spot, while a first-half goal was enough to secure an away win for ninth-placed Ettifaq against bottom-of-the-table Al-Adalah.