Stadium sponsor FedEx asks Washington’s NFL team to change its name

Tanya Simon
July 3, 2020

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The Washington Post reported that Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia's nonvoting delegate to the House of Representatives, made it clear the nickname needed to be changed if the Redskins wanted to return to the district.

However, now it seems like Snyder might be forced to make a change as FedEx, the stadium sponsor for Washington, has come out in condemnation of the team's name.

The Redskins nickname has survived multiple challenges over the years, with many Native American groups labeling the name racist. However, the issue might have reached a tipping point with the request from FedEx, which paid $205 million for naming rights to the team's stadium in Landover, Md., in a deal that runs through 2026.

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FedEx founder, chairman and CEO Frederick Smith also is a team minority owner.

"There is no viable path, locally or federally, for the Washington football team to return to Washington, D.C., without first changing the team name", added D.C. Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio. Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Other main sponsors such as Nike and PepsiCo are being pressured to follow suit: According to AdWeek, investors worth over $620 billion sent letters to Nike, Pepsi and FedEx calling for the end of their sponsorships of the team.

As part of commissioner Roger Goodell's vow to listen to and work with players in their fight for racial equality, the league is considering putting names of victims of police brutality on helmet decals or jersey patches.

"In light of the Black Lives Matter movement that has focused the world's attention on centuries of systemic racism, we are witnessing a fresh outpouring of opposition to the team name", the firms said in the letter addressed to Nike.

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