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Social Media May Force The Hand Of The Redskins

Redskins FansThe battle on the issue with the Washington Redskins name being offensive is heating up.

Many groups and individuals have come forth to express their disdain for the name and its prejudice background.

Dan Snyder has already stated that he will “never” change the name of his football team, not leaving much wiggle room for the nickname of the football team representing our nation’s capital.

With social media acting as a digital battle field, activists are standing up to Snyder.

Could Social Media Help Force The “Redskins” Issue?

Social media is a powerful tool for marketing, voicing opinions, collecting data, and connecting with the consumer.  But could various platforms, namely Twitter, have the power to force a business to rebrand?  It’s quite possible.

Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell – Redskins owner and NFL commissioner, respectively – would rather the team name remain unchanged.  Alienating customers is not a good way to run a business.  USA Today managed to get this strong statement out of the Redskins owner:

“We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER—you can use caps.”

With that, it certainly cannot be mistaken that Snyder has no intentions of changing the team’s name.  But the statement may have caused more harm than anything.

To Change The Name Or Not To Change The Name

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After the quote spread to the public, a Twitter user mocked Snyder and hash tagged #NEVERINALLCAPS.  There have also been a plethora of other tweets regarding the topic.

Both parties, those for and against, have a strong number of supporters.  Chip Rives – CEO of TRP Sports and Entertainment Marketing – explains how social media alone may have the power to force the issue:

“Conversations that used to happen around the water cooler now happen all over the world in real time.  It gives a bigger voice to those who are more active and passionate about the issue … they can keep the conversation alive and vibrant for a long time and grow the number of people who are passionate about getting rid of the name.”

Social media will remain a major voice in this topic of debate.  It seems that boycotting a football team such as the Washington Redskins would be a difficult undertaking.  Ian Schafer – CEO of the agency Deep Focus – believes this issue will be tough:

“We have seen a minority of people effect change, but usually it comes by disproportionately hitting a party in the wallet.  Teams are not retail chains, and are much more difficult to organize a meaningful boycott, or ‘buycott,’ of.”

Is A Name Change Realistic?

With the Redskins valued at $1.7 billion and raking in $381 million in annual revenue, there would need to be a major boycott to effect the franchise.  Doug Bailey, president of DBMedia Strategies and a communications professor at Boston University, thinks there is still a way to make a boycott work for those opposed to the name: boycott team sponsors, advertisers, and partners.

Whether or not a boycott occurs will remain to be seen.  Either way, social media seems to reign supreme when it comes to having your voice heard.  If this keeps up, we could see social media force a professional team’s hand on the largest scale.

Do you think social media has the power to effect the outcome of this debate?

Photo credit – businessweek.com

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