Do not mistake cold, hard calculation for courage.

Washington’s team formerly known as a racial slur announced Monday that it will drop its nickname and logo. It was a stunning move, given owner Daniel Snyder’s insistence that he would “never” bow to calls to change a name offensive to Native Americans – I guess never doesn’t last as long as it used to – and comes as the nation reckons with the systemic racism that permeates every facet of our society.

But this was not the result of Snyder having some personal awakening or humbly acknowledging that he now understands what people have been trying to tell him for the better part of a decade. That was clear from that middle finger of a press release, with the team using the slur twice more while it still had the chance.

No, this was about money. Lots of it.

FedEx, which paid $205 million for a 25-year naming-rights deal in 1999, threatened to take its name off the stadium unless the name was changed. Nike pulled team merchandise from its website, making Washington the only team whose gear wasn’t available online. Pepsi expressed its disapproval.

The message was clear: Either change the name, or Snyder and his team would be a corporate pariah.
Read more…