FedEx asks Washington Redskins to change team name

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FedEx, which has naming rights for the stadium where the Washington Redskins NFL team plays, is calling on the team to change its name.  

“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” the company said in a statement to The Hill. 

The name is a racist word used in reference to Native Americans. 

Fedex paid $205 million for naming rights to the Maryland stadium in 1998. The deal runs through 2025, according to ESPN.

Frederick Smith, the chairman, CEO and president of FedEx Corp., owns a minority stake in the Washington team. 

Dozens of investment firms and shareholders in letters last week called on Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to end their business relationships with the Redskins unless the team changes its name. The letter was signed by 87 firms holding over $620 billion in assets. 

A monument depicting George Preston Marshall, the founder of the Redskins, was removed last month after it was vandalized in front of RFK Stadium, where the team previously played. 

The words “change the name” were spray-painted onto the monument. Marshall was known for not signing Black players to the team until the federal government forced his hand in 1962. 

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), Washington, D.C.’s nonvoting delegate to the House of Representatives, called on team owner Dan Snyder to change the name if he wants build a new stadium on the site of RFK stadium, which is federally owned.

“He has got a problem he can’t get around — and he particularly can’t get around it today, after the George Floyd killing,” Norton told The Washington Post.

Protests across the country that have erupted over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died May 25 after a former Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest.

Demonstrations have called for widespread police reform, in addition to the removal of statues and honorifics for Confederate leaders, explorer Christopher Columbus and others who represent racism in America.

Snyder has previously resisted calls to change the name. He told USA Today in a 2013 interview “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, told the Post that it was a “non-starter” for him and other Democratic lawmakers for the team to move into Washington, D.C., with its current name, which he dubbed a “racist nickname.”

The committee oversees the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service.

“The time [for the name] has ended,” Grijalva said. “There is no way to justify it. You either step into this century or you don’t. It’s up to the owner of the team to do that.”

Tags DC Eleanor Holmes Norton fedex Native Americans NFL Nike PepsiCo police brutality racism in American Washington Washington Redskins
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