Which mainstream sports team will be next to officially change their name? Care to bet on it?
Washington To Retire “Redskins”
On Monday, July 13, Washington’s NFL franchise released a statement in which it announced the “Redskins name and logo” will be retired. A rebrand that was many, many years in the making.
The organization’s decision came on the heels of growing pressure on the team’s owner Dan Snyder to do the right thing. Snyder had previously refused – heck, flat out dismissed – any overtures to change the team’s name and logo that’ve been widely considered deeply offensive to Native Americans. Why, seven years ago, when faced with the same request…, well, Snyder emphatically ruled out rebranding the team. “We’ll never change the name,” he said. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.” [Source: USA Sports Today].
Having seen previous attempts to force Snyder to drop the Redskins name and logo come and go without success, bookmakers weighed in on the occasion in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests by favoring the “No” bet at -1000. Betting “Yes” was priced at +550.
Tale told the latter proved to be the correct bet, brought on by the concentrated effort of sponsors, worth an astronomical $620 billion (yikes!), asking FedEx, Nike, and Pepsi to divorce the team if it didn’t change its name.
FedEx, the primary sponsor of the team, after which the stadium is named, put in a formal request for a name change on Thursday, July 9. “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx said in a statement obtained by ESPN. On the same day, Nike removed all Redskins merchandise from its online store, and Pepsi issued a statement in which it said “it is time for a change.”
With investors flexing their financial muscles and forcing Dan Snyder and Co. to do what should have been done a long time ago, it’s more feasible now to expect other teams to come under similar scrutiny. That’s the power of change in a world that is radically different today than it was in previous years, a time when nothing like this would have been imaginable.
BetOnline Sportsbook has dished out BLM prop odds for several teams that could be pushed to rebrand. For your convenience, they are listed here.
Team to Officially Change Their Name Next
- Cleveland Indians -300
- Kansas City Chiefs +500
- Atlanta Braves +700
- Florida State Seminoles +900
- Chicago Blackhawks +1200
Cleveland Indians Favored
By the odds, Cleveland Indians are the top favorites to undergo a rebrand in this culturally sensitive and conscientious time. In 2018, Cleveland Indians took the step to remove Chief Wahoo from their uniforms, conceding then that the logo was no longer appropriate. And recently, the organization announced it was exploring a change to their nickname – a move that manager Terry Francona approves.
Terry Francona’s son, Nick Francona, however, in a GQ column, suggested Cleveland hasn’t gone far enough in its betterment initiatives. Pointing out that although the team did remove the Chief Wahoo logo from on-field use two years ago, it still continues to profit off-field from the controversial trademarked logo. Using it on team merchandise and other products.
Nick Francona wrote, “the team must commit to no longer profiting off of the Chief Wahoo logo.” Adding that it should consider transferring ownership of the trademark to non-profit Native American groups that work to raise awareness about the harmful effects of discrimination.
The Indians host the Kansas City Royals on Friday, July 24, marking the start to their 2020 MLB season.
Demands For Name Change Not Going Away
There’s some speculation the Kansas City Chiefs may be next to change their name following Washington; as such, they’re the second-best bet to do so at BetOnline Sportsbook. Other teams to come under scrutiny include the Atlanta Braves, Florida State Seminoles, and Chicago Blackhawks, listed in succession on the odds board – all of which brandish names that pertain to Native American culture.
Arguably, the situation with the aforementioned teams isn’t exactly the same – “Chiefs,” for instance, doesn’t come across in the same derogatory manner as “Redskins” does. Nevertheless, that’s not the point. The issue of stereotyping and the nature of a team name as it relates to Native American culture is at the crux of the matter. The cultural trend right now is one that puts up any and all names up for discussion. And if there’s any group that finds it objectionable, it may well be open to serious challenge.