Major Retailers Pull Redskins Branded Merch Even After Franchise Agrees to Review Name
Yesterday we reported that the Washington Redskins were inching closer to finally changing the team’s name after years of public outcry over the racially insensitive name. This came after Nike pulled licensed team merchandise from stores, and FedEx (the company with the naming rights to the stadium) and more than 80 investors asked businesses to stop working with the franchise until it changes the name.
In an uncharacteristic move, usually stubborn team owner Dan Snyder indicated that the franchise would seriously evaluate a name change. But it took more than just Nike pulling the team’s merchandise. Major retailers like Walmart, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods have also agreed to stop selling Redskins gear.
As of Monday, items including shirts, hats and other memorabilia were no longer available at Walmart, Target and Dick's Sporting Goods. https://t.co/XAAFxvmxft
— USA TODAY Money (@USATODAYmoney) July 7, 2020
According to NBC Sports, Walmart announced the decision after the franchise released a statement that it was reviewing the name (i.e. in the early stages of a name change). That could just be a delay in communication, where the company's prepared statement just came out after the team’s, but it could also be a commitment to holding firm that a “review” isn’t enough, and that until the franchise rebrands, Walmart won't carry the merchandise.
Given today’s announcement by the NFL and the Washington team’s ownership, we are discontinuing the sale of items that reference the team’s name and logo. https://t.co/LtT7m7H3we
— Walmart Inc. (@WalmartInc) July 3, 2020
According to NBC Sports, Target also confirmed that it decided to do this after the franchise’s announcement.
The franchise will still earn merchandise revenue from the NFL’s online store, but major retailers, brands and team sponsors joining calls for the team to change its name, there is a real chance that the Washington NFL franchise has a new identity soon. At least, it will if it wants to get back into retail stores and in the good graces of many would-be consumers.
Until then, people will no doubt buy up all of the “Redskins” stuff they can, because they know they will be collector’s items sooner rather than later.