For greater than twenty years, FedEx’s title and company identification have been intertwined with one of many National Football League’s legacy franchises: the Washington Redskins.
The firm paid the group $205 million for the naming rights to the Redskins’ stadium in Landover, Md., as a part of a sponsorship deal that has endured by way of losses, teaching modifications and accidents to high gamers.
So it served as vital discover on Thursday when the transport big joined the ranks of politicians and Native American teams which have known as on the group to drop the Redskins title.
The growth got here as Americans grapple with anachronistic symbols — from statues to mascots to product packaging — that critics say are racist. The killing of George Floyd and unrest over police misconduct reignited the controversy, together with the renewed push to change the Redskins’ title, which some say is a derogatory time period.
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx stated in an announcement on Thursday evening.
FedEx wouldn’t remark additional on the matter or handle the standing of its sponsorship of the group, which is owned by Daniel Snyder, who has lengthy resisted calls for a reputation change. Frederick W. Smith, the chairman and chief govt of FedEx, can also be a minority proprietor of the Redskins.
The Redskins didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon Thursday evening.
On Nike’s retail web site, the Washington Redskins have been conspicuously absent from a drop-down menu for soccer jersey gross sales on Thursday. It was not clear if it was an intentional omission, and Nike didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Last week, the Redskins removed the name of the team’s original owner, George Preston Marshall, from the Ring of Fame inside FedEx Field. The franchise, which was the last to integrate its roster, also scrubbed Marshall’s name from its website.
The team said it would rename the lower bowl of the venue for Bobby Mitchell, the franchise’s first African-American star player.
During a radio interview last month, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington said that the team should change its name and said the issue was an “obstacle” to the team’s returning to play its home games in the city.
“I think it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people,” she said, “and this is a great franchise with a great history that’s beloved in Washington, and it deserves a name that reflects the affection that we’ve built for the team.”
Before he was elected, President Trump told The New York Times that he didn’t have a problem with the team’s name.
“Honestly, I don’t think they should change the name, unless the owner wanted to,” he said in a 2015 interview.