Matt Weyrich

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A timeline of the Washington Redskins’ name dispute over the years

A timeline of the Washington Redskins’ name dispute over the years

The Washington Redskins announced Friday that they plan to conduct a “thorough review” of their team name for the first time under owner Dan Snyder. It’s perhaps the most significant development in a saga that has played out over the course of nearly 50 years.

Despite scrutiny around the name and its interpretation as a racial slur offensive to Native Americans that has spurred legal disputes and public calls for its removal, the Redskins have held strong in their refusal to budge on the subject—until now.

Here’s a look at all the events from over the years that led up to Friday’s announcement.

1933: Under founding owner George Preston Marshall—whose name was recently removed from the Redskins’ Ring of Fame—the Boston Braves changed their name to the Boston Redskins in order to eliminate confusion with the MLB’s Boston Braves, who later moved to Atlanta. The franchise moved to Washington four years later.

1967: The Redskins receive a formal trademark from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the name.

1971-72: A group of D.C. reporters at a variety of outlets including The Washington Post, Washington Daily News and Washington Star become the first prominent advocates against the name. Wrote Paul Kaplan of the Washington Star, “Some think of the symbols as monuments to their strength and manhood. Others disagree, bitterly denouncing the derogation of their heritage, an ignorance of their culture and an unabashed commercialism in the sense that Indian names and heroes are exploited with no recompense whatsoever for our native Americans.”

1972: The Redskins introduce a new logo featuring the profile of a Native American warrior. That depiction still stands as the team’s primary logo today.

1992: As the Redskins played the Buffalo Bills for Super Bowl XXVI in Minnesota, a group of about 3,000 demonstrators held picket signs outside the stadium protesting against the name. Later that year, a group of “American Indian leaders” filed a petition that requested the team name be changed.


1999: A suit filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Board in 1992 is ruled in favor of a Native American group championed by Suzan Shown Harjo, a member of the Cheyenne tribe. However, the Redskins ultimately won an appeal of the decision in 2009 because a judge ruled the Native Americans waited too long to raise the issue after the trademark was approved.

2006: A second lawsuit is filed with the trademark office, this time led by Navajo tribe member Amanda Blackhorse. The suit alleged that the name was disparaging toward Native Americans and its trademark should be removed.

2013: In an interview with USA TODAY, Redskins owner Dan Snyder said, "We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER—you can use caps." The Oneida Indian Nation then held a season-long protest of the name in which members traveled to every Redskins road game to spread the message. President Barack Obama weighed in, saying he would “think about changing it” if he were owner.

2014: A group of 50 U.S. Senators, all Democrats, signed a letter to the NFL asking for the Redskins to change their name. The Redskins also lost a ruling by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that said the name was disparaging to a “substantial composite of Native Americans.” Washington would appeal the decision, which was overruled by the Supreme Court in 2017.

2020: Following weeks of nationwide protests for racial equity and sudden financial pressure from investors, Redskins sponsors FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo all showed support for the idea that the team should change its name. FedEx issued a formal request for the name while Nike removed all Redskins apparel from its website. Snyder then issued a statement Friday that said the team would conduct a “thorough review” of the name, signaling for the first time the franchise was considering dropping the name.

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Why being lame ducks only helps Mike Rizzo and Davey Martinez in contract talks

Why being lame ducks only helps Mike Rizzo and Davey Martinez in contract talks

The Nationals’ biggest free agent of the past decade isn’t Bryce Harper nor Anthony Rendon. It’s President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo, who is in the midst of preparing for the 2020 season without any certainty about his future beyond it.

Even after the Nationals won their first World Series title in franchise history last October, principal owner Mark Lerner and his father Ted have yet to ink an extension for their longtime GM.

The same goes for manager Davey Martinez, who is only signed through this season with a team option for 2021. Martinez is credited with keeping the clubhouse on track despite a 19-31 start to the season before pulling all the right strings, particularly with his pitching staff, throughout the playoffs.

Both Rizzo and Martinez have reached the pinnacle of their respective positions, leading their club to a championship. Yet they find themselves in the unenviable positions of not knowing whether they’ll remain employed in D.C. after this year. However, there is one advantage to the position they’re in.


Former New York Mets GM and current MLB Network Radio analyst Steve Phillips joined NBC Sports Washington’s Nationals Talk podcast Tuesday and touched on Rizzo and Martinez’s situation. Phillips understands their position after he went into the final year of his contract with the Mets in 2000 without a deal before helping his team to its first NL pennant in 14 years.

“It’s not the worst spot to be in to wait,” Phillips said. “If you go to the playoffs again this year, all it does is add to your value. And if you don’t, you’re still the World Series champion from the year before and can play on that.”

This is a situation Rizzo and the Nationals have been in before. Rizzo entered the 2018 season without a deal before agreeing to a reported two-year, $8 million extension in April. Though the Nationals had yet to advance past the NLDS at that point, they were still one of the winningest teams of the previous five years—a feat with Rizzo’s fingerprints all over it.

After winning a World Series, Rizzo’s salary expectations will likely be much higher. The highest paid executives in the sport are Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein (about $10 million a year), Los Angeles Dodgers president Andrew Friedman ($7 million) and New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman ($5 million).

Washington has a messy history with managers as well. The club tried to hire now-Colorado Rockies skipper Bud Black in 2015 but offered only a one-year, $1.6 million deal that left Black “deeply offended.” The Nationals instead signed Dusty Baker to a two-year deal worth $4 million with incentives. Martinez will have only made $2.8 million in his three years with the Nationals by the end of 2020.


“I think both guys will still be there [beyond 2020],” Phillips said. “I don’t think Rizzo wants to leave. I don’t think that Dave Martinez wants to leave. And I think they’ll find a way to get a deal done to keep both guys in D.C.”

The deadline is approaching for the Nationals to work out a deal with Rizzo, and even if they exercise their club option on Martinez for 2021, his turn will come next year. Washington may be saving money in the short-term by keeping Rizzo and Martinez on their current contracts, but the World Series champion GM and skipper only have leverage to gain by waiting at the negotiating table.

Stay connected to the Nationals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.


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Report: Top quarterback recruit Caleb Williams gave Maryland last word before college decision

Report: Top quarterback recruit Caleb Williams gave Maryland last word before college decision

On Saturday night, the No. 1 quarterback prospect of the 2021 recruiting class will announce his decision on where he will spend his college career. And he may not even have to leave the DMV to do it.

Gonzaga’s junior signal caller Caleb Williams has narrowed his list of options down to three schools: Oklahoma, LSU and Maryland. Though the Sooners under quarterback guru Lincoln Riley are considered the favorites to land him, the hometown Terrapins have outlasted a plethora of other schools throughout Williams’ decision-making process. According to The Washington Post, he gave head coach Michael Locksley and the Terps final word, last speaking with Maryland coaches on June 27.

Ranked the fourth overall player in his class by 247sports, Williams is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he was named first-team All-Met. As a junior in 2019, he threw for 1,770 yards and 19 touchdowns while showcasing his dual-threat ability by rushing for 838 yards and another 18 scores.

Locksley and the Terps have already enjoyed a successful offseason of recruiting highlighted by landing 247sports’ fourth-ranked wide receiver in the 2020 class, Rakim Jarrett. A product of St. John’s in D.C., he flipped from LSU on signing day, surprising even Locksley.


Though the Terps went just 3-9 (1-8 in Big Ten play) last season, the addition of Jarrett as a legitimate weapon in the passing game may be enough to convince Williams to forego Oklahoma and LSU. He plans to announce his decision Saturday at 9 p.m.