FedEx, a company whose name is on the stadium in which Washington’s NFL franchise plays its home games, has requested the team change its name.
Here’s the news from ABC, which shared the statement that was released by the company this afternoon:
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.“
— ABC 7 News – WJLA (@ABC7News) July 2, 2020
Also notable, as pointed out by Eric Fisher: FedEx founder Fred Smith is part of Washington’s ownership group.
This comes one day after Mary Emily O’Hara of AdWeek reported that 87 investment firms sent letters to FedEx, Nike, and PepsiCo to stop doing business with the franchise unless the team changed its name from the Washington Redskins. Nike is the NFL’s official apparel supplier. PepsiCo renewed its long-standing deal with the league in 2019 through the 2022 season to remain its official soft-drink sponsor. And in addition to holding the naming rights to Washington’s football stadium, FedEx has a league-wide sponsorship deal as its exclusive delivery service sponsor. Suffice it to say we’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars worth of sponsorship deals with these three companies.
Previously, owner Daniel Snyder has turned away any idea of the franchise changing its name. In 2013, Snyder told the USA Today: “We will never change the name of the team.” However, we’ll see if Snyder will change his tone after prominent league sponsors put in a request for change.
In case you’re curious as to why this battle is coming to light again, allow me to direct you to something written by Stephen Pevar at the ACLU explaining why.