Many NFL teams participated in Blackout Tuesday, a display of solidarity by businesses and individuals who silenced their social media pages to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
However, not every team was praised for taking part. The 49ers' posts were met with responses about Colin Kaepernick, but perhaps no team was hit harder than the Washington Redskins. Their tweet currently stands at 1,100 retweets, but 14,000 retweets with comments, most of which were highly critical of the franchise.
And the responses exceeded your typical Twitter trolls just looking to make a quick joke. U.S. congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one of the thousands who chimed in, claiming if the Redskins really wanted to make a change they should start with their name.
Want to really stand for racial justice? Change your name. https://t.co/XTlIJrfNx4
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 2, 2020
Redskin is a slang term for Native Americans and, as defined by Merriam-Webster, "usually offensive."
The name has been dropped by some high schools across the United States, including one in Idaho in 2019. According to a December 2017 article, the number of high schools using Redskins as a nickname had declined from 93 before 1990 to 49 (and that number is lower now).
However, despite efforts from high schools to change the team name, it doesn't appear as if the NFL franchise has any plans to do so. The team's owner, Daniel Snyder, has his front office have been adamant throughout the years that nothing will change.
"Dan Snyder has really worked in the Native American community to understand better their perspective, and I think it's reflected mostly in a Washington Post poll that came out [in May 2016] that said over nine out of 10 Native Americans do not take that in a negative fashion, the Redskins' logo or the Redskins' name, and they support it," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in 2018.
In 2013, Snyder made the message even clearer to USA Today: "We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
Still, it was clear by the reaction on Twitter that many would like to see the team take some action.
I feel like maybe there’s something else you could do to stand against racism. https://t.co/pC0KbXenKr
— Kashana (@kashanacauley) June 2, 2020
I know one way you could fight racism.... https://t.co/uNof6PfkZl
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) June 2, 2020
your team name is literally a slur why don’t ya’ll start there https://t.co/kYeDUl6AoA
— (@SimoneGJohnson) June 2, 2020
Ok now change the name and the logo https://t.co/3Pi9FuznZv
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) June 2, 2020