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How quickly can the Redskins change their name? Nike has something to do with it

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How quickly can the Redskins change their name? Nike has something to do with it

The Washington Redskins announced last week they are undergoing a "thorough review" of its team name and, in all likelihood, a name change is inevitable.

Last week, the organization faced a tremendous amount of public pressure from some of its largest corporate sponsors, such as FedEx, PepsiCo and Nike, to change the name. On Saturday, Washington head coach Ron Rivera said he hopes the team name is changed before the 2020 NFL season.

However, switching the name requires multiple steps, both legally and business-wise. According to CNBC sports business reporter Eric Chemi, a name change before the season is possible, but not without financial losses for some of those same sponsors pressuring Washington to make the move. 

"It's possible - if companies like Nike want to lose a lot of money on the gear they've already made," Chemi said. 

Chemi compared the situation to when athletes themselves decide to change their name and the fallout that comes from that. Companies like Nike and other jersey manufacturers have licenses that prevent players from changing their name or number right before the season.

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When former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson legally changed his last name to 'OchoCinco' in 2008, Reebok, the NFL's jersey manufacturer at the time, did not sell jerseys with 'OchoCinco' on the back for the rest of the year. For Reebok to sell Johnson's new uniform, the wideout would have had to purchase the estimated 100,000 'C. Johnson' jerseys remaining on store shelves in America, according to CNBC.

"We've seen that when athletes change their name, sometimes companies say 'No, we've spent too much money making jerseys with your name already on it,'" Chemi said. "Or, if you want to change your jersey number, 'Sorry, we need a one-year heads up on that.'"

We saw this most recently this past offseason in the NBA when Anthony Davis was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Davis, who had worn No. 23 his entire career prior to the deal, was expected to be gifted that number by LeBron James, who planned to switch back to the No. 6 he wore when he was a member of the Miami Heat.

Davis was unable to get No. 23, as Nike prevented the switch from happening because it was past the March 15 deadline. Davis ultimately decided to wear No. 3 this season, with James keeping his original No. 23.

RELATED: FRED SMOOT SAYS REDSKINS HAVE NARROWED NEW NAME CHOICE DOWN TO TWO OR THREE OPTIONS

Currently, there is still plenty of Redskins gear on store shelves across the country. Although Nike has removed Washington's gear from its website, the company still makes money when its product is purchased through the team or other manufacturers that sell Nike products.

Nike released a statement last Friday saying it was "pleased" that the Redskins organization was moving forward to change its name. And if the company is comfortable with losing money by having the name changed, Chemi believes it's a possibility it happens before the 2020 season.

"So, if they're willing to lose a lot of money on stuff they've already made, then sure, maybe they can go ahead in the next month and change the name."

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Nike statement: 'Pleased' to see Redskins taking step towards name change

Nike statement: 'Pleased' to see Redskins taking step towards name change

Nike released a statement Friday saying it has shared concerns to the NFL with the name of the Washington Redskins football team.

"We have been talking to the NFL and sharing our concerns regarding the name of the Washington team. We are pleased to see the team taking a first step towards change," the statement read, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Nike is the last to release a statement of the three brands that recently received a letter from investors requesting each company to end its relationship with Washington unless the name is changed. FedEx released a statement Thursday and PepsiCo earlier Friday, voicing similar concerns.

RELATED ARTICLE: PEPSICO REQUESTS REDSKINS CHANGE NAME

Washington's name and apparel had been purged from the Nike website as early as Thursday evening, though it's unclear when exactly Nike made the move.

With the current pressure from sponsors, it's become 'likely' the team does change the name, according to reports. Washington announced Friday morning that it would conduct a "thorough review" of the name.

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Nike removes Redskins name, apparel from its website

Nike removes Redskins name, apparel from its website

Nike was one of three companies to reportedly have received a letter recently from investors asking that it sever ties with the Washington Redskins unless the team changes its name.

Another of those companies, FedEx, responded Thursday by formally requesting that the team change its name. Nike and the third company, PepsiCo, have yet to respond, but there is a major omission from the Nike website that maybe hints at what's to come.

RELATED ARTICLE: NOW REDSKINS WAIT TO SEE IF NIKE, PEPSI WILL FOLLOW FEDEX'S LEAD

Nike, the NFL's official gameday uniform supplier, is no longer allowing customers to purchase Washington apparel from its website. The Nike.com NFL page has every team listed on the left sidebar except Washington. Furthermore, its shopping filters also omit Washington, and its search function pulls up other teams but no results for Washington.

It's unclear when Nike made this change to the website. AdWeek reported Wednesday that investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion sent letters to Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo last Friday.

In its request to the team on Thursday, FedEx said, “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.“

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