Stadium sponsor FedEx requests Washington NFL team change its nickname

FedEx, the namesake of the Washington Redskins' stadium, is asking the team to change its controversial nickname.

Memphis-based company signed stadium naming rights deal with franchise in 1999

The front entrance of FedEx Field, home of Washington's NFL team, is seen in a file photo from 2003. FedEx, the Memphis-based delivery firm, Thursday communicated a request to the franchise that it change its team name. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

FedEx, the namesake of the Washington Redskins' stadium, is asking the team to change its controversial nickname.

The Memphis-based delivery firm wrote in a statement Thursday, as reported by multiple media outlets, "We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name."

The Redskins' stadium in Landover, Md., is known as FedEx Field under a 27-year, $205 million US deal that went into effect in November 1999.

FedEx has another major tie to the Redskins, as its founder/chairman/CEO Frederick Smith is a minority owner of the football team.

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FedEx's announcement came a day after Adweek reported that investment firms and shareholders wrote letters to FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo, asking the companies to end their sponsorship agreements with the Redskins. The letter, signed by 87 firms, threatened to stop financial backing of the three Redskins sponsors.

The group behind the letter has combined assets of $620 billion, according to the report.

Nike and Pepsi refused to comment to Adweek on Wednesday.

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has said that the team will not change the nickname as long as he is in charge.

Calls for the club to dump the nickname have been made for decades, but a 2016 Washington Post poll of 504 Native Americans found that 90 percent were not offended by the Redskins nickname. The poll included people in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The franchise began using the Redskins nickname in 1933, when it was based in Boston. Team owner George Preston Marshall moved the club to Washington in 1937.

A statue of Marshall was removed from the Redskins' former Washington venue, RFK Stadium, on June 19 in the wake of protests seeking racial equality following the death of George Floyd. Under Marshall's leadership, the Redskins were the last NFL team to integrate, adding their first Black players in 1962.

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