FedEx asks NFL club to change 'Redskins' name
Los Angeles (AFP)
US delivery giant FedEx Corp. is seeking to use its leverage as the title sponsor of the Washington Redskins's stadium to convince the team to change their name.
"We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name," FedEx said in a one-sentence statement on Thursday.
The Memphis, Tennessee-based firm paid the Redskins $205 million for the naming rights to the NFL team's stadium in 1998.
FedEx chief executive Frederick Smith owns a minority stake in the team.
US businesses are examining their corporate culture in the aftermath of recent civil unrest, triggered by the police killing of unarmed African American George Floyd.
Team owner Dan Snyder is under pressure in the long-running dispute to change the team name, which is considered offensive toward Native Americans.
In the past, Snyder has remained steadfast on keeping the name, calling it a "badge of honor."
AdWeek reported this week that FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo all received letters from 87 investment firms asking the companies and others to sever its ties with the Redskins.
Six years ago FedEx shareholders voted to allow the Redskins to keep their name after the shipping giant receiving a complaint from the Wisconsin-based Oneida Indian tribe.
Earlier this week Washington head coach Ron Rivera told a Chicago radio station that there is a time for everything.
"I have my beliefs, I know what I think and I support the movements and support the players. I believe in what they're doing, and again, I think that there are certain elements to certain things that it's all about the timing and the best time to discuss those things," Rivera said.
Native American leaders across North America want Snyder to change the name, which the franchise has used since the 1930s.
In the past, groups have tried unsuccessfully to use the US courts to force Snyder to change the name.
© 2020 AFP