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One of Washington’s biggest sponsors has joined in on the push for the organization to change its name.
FedEx, which owns the naming rights to Washington’s stadium in Landover, Maryland, officially asked the team on Thursday to change its name after heated backlash in recent weeks.
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx said, via ABC7.
Calls to have the “Redskins” nickname removed resurfaced in recent weeks following George Floyd’s death in police custody in May. However the nickname — which is very clearly both racist and offensive — has been something that team owner Daniel Snyder has long defended and insisted will never change. He’s resisted calls from both Native Americans and even the White House to stop using the racial slur.
FedEx isn’t alone in pressuring the team to change its name, either. Eighty-seven investors and shareholders, reportedly worth a combined $620 billion, signed a letter on Wednesday urging Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to end their relationships with the team. A Native American group called for players to boycott the season over the name last weekend.
Several politicians and Washington, D.C. officials also made it clear that the team needs a new name if it wants to move into a new stadium in D.C. — something Snyder wants to do when his current lease at FedExField expires in 2027.
New Washington head coach Ron Rivera, however, deflected when he was asked about the team name this week.
“I think that’s a discussion for another time,” Rivera said. “I feel a guy that’s my age, my era, that was always a part of football — the name of the Washington Redskins ... It's all about the moment and the timing. But I'm just somebody that's from a different era when football wasn't such a big part of the political scene. That's one of the tough things, too, is I've always wanted to keep that separate.”
Though Snyder has long been set in his ways, losing the support of one of his biggest investors might help get the message across.
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