Washington Redskins to Retire Controversial Name and Logo
The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.
The decision follows a review of the name and logo that the team announced July 3 "in light of recent events around our country."
"Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review," the team said in a statement.
The announcement comes as a swift and sudden reversal from team owner Dan Snyder. In 2013, he told USA TODAY to "put it in all caps" that he would never change the name, ESPN reported. But then came the massive protests following the police murder of George Floyd, which prompted a nationwide reckoning over racial justice. A few weeks later, multiple sources said Snyder had been discussing the team's name with the NFL for weeks.
The team also faced increased corporate and activist pressure. Eighty-seven investors and shareholders signed a letter to team sponsors FedEx, PepsiCo and Nike asking them to stop doing business with the team until the name was changed. All three responded with statements saying they had told the team to change its name, and FedEx said it would take its name off the stadium if this did not happen.
When the team announced it was considering a change, activist group Change The Mascot urged it to abandon the name immediately.
"There is no reason not to immediately announce that the team is changing the mascot, since any real review will lead to the inevitable conclusion that the deeply offensive and racist name of Washington's NFL team must go now," Change the Mascot leader Ray Halbritter said in a press release. "Team owner Dan Snyder can stand on the right side of history and create a new, positive legacy for his team, or instead continue embracing a bigoted slur that denigrates Native Americans and people of color."
The team has not yet announced a new name or logo, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that it would no longer use Native American imagery.
"Dan Snyder and Coach [Ron] Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition-rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years," the team said Monday.
The team has used the Redskins name for 87 years and the logo was designed by a Native American in 1971.
While the change was precipitated by recent protests, the movement to end the use of Native American imagery for names and mascots began in the 1970s, Indian Country Today reported. Native American groups have targeted the Redskins name specifically for decades, and a recent UC Berkeley study found that 67 percent of respondents who strongly identified as Indigenous thought the name was offensive.
While hundreds of universities and schools have retired Native mascots in recent years, professional sports teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians have resisted, The New York Times pointed out.
But activists vowed to keep fighting.
"Dear @Braves, @Chiefs, @NHLBlackhawks: The target on your backs just got much larger," the group Not Your Mascot tweeted.
Dear @Braves, @Chiefs, @NHLBlackhawks: The target on your backs just got much larger. Sincerely: Everyone— Not Your Mascot (@Not Your Mascot)1594649963.0
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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