Etsy is banning its merchants from selling products that include the Washington Redskins' name and logo, writing in a blog post this week that the decision was made because the team's name is "disparaging and damaging to Native Americans." Etsy has had a longstanding policy that prohibits many hateful or demeaning products from being sold on its marketplace, including hateful products referencing race, religion, and gender.
Merchandise with just "Washington" or the team colors can still be sold
With this announcement, Etsy is now declaring that Washington's team name falls under that ban, prohibiting any items with the football team's name or mascot from being sold. "We understand that fans wish to support their favorite football team," Etsy writes, later saying, "but the fact remains that Native Americans themselves find the term unacceptable." Merchandise supporting the team can still be sold so long as it only references Washington or the team colors.
Given that Etsy's marketplace is filled with small businesses and handmade goods, this ban likely won't have a dramatic impact so much as it'll serve to add another voice to the growing chorus of those opposed to Washington's team name — and a significant voice at that. Etsy may be filled with small merchants, but it's collectively a huge business, totaling over $1 billion in sales last year. Many have pointed out that Etsy could do a better job of policing its marketplace for racist and hateful products, but Etsy says that it will begin reaching out to sellers of the newly prohibited merchandise immediately.