Pressure is mounting for the Washington Redskins to change their controversial name, as Nike and sponsor FedEx have publicly demanded a name change.
According to the Associated Press, FedEx, the title sponsor of the Redskins’ stadium, wants 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 an official statement issued on Thursday.
FedEx paid $205 million back in 1999 for the naming rights to FedEx Field located in Landover, Maryland, and FedEx CEO Frederik Smith is a minority owner of the franchise.
On Thursday night, Nike appeared remove all Washington Redskin merchandise and gear from their online store, with the “Redskins” search producing zero results.
Redskins’ team owner Dan Snyder has been combative and adamant in his stance that the Redskins name will remain, and that the team will not be changing their name despite pleas throughout the years.
Amid protests and pressure for social justice, the movement for a name change has found more momentum and support.
According to Adweek’s Mary Emily O’Hara, “three separate letters signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion asked Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to terminate their business relationships with [Washington] unless the team agrees to change its controversial name.”
According to the Washington Post’s Liz Clarke, there is pressure from government as well as District of Columbia’s delegate to the House of Representatives, Eleanor Holmes Norton, said the franchise will need to change the name if they ever want to build a new stadium at the site of the current RFK Stadium.