There is growing pressure being put on the Washington NFL team to change its nickname.
FedEx, which paid $205 million in 1998 for the naming rights to the team’s stadium through 2025, made an official request for a name change. “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx said in a statement. Fred Smith, the company’s CEO, also holds a minority share in the team.
A group of 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a combined $620 billion recently issued letters calling for brands to end their relationship with the team until its name is changed. Nike and Pepsi are two of the companies being pressured to terminate their business dealings with the team. Pepsi is the NFL’s official soft drink, while Nike is the league’s official outfitter.
Last night, Nike seemingly removed all of the team’s merchandise from its online store, as a search for ‘Redskins’ shows no results. All of the NFL’s 31 other teams have items on the site.
Washington has faced pressure to change its name for decades, but team owner Dan Snyder has yet to budge. In 2014, 50 U.S. senators sent a letter requesting a change to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
After the report of investor pressure surfaced, Washington D.C. officials said the team’s efforts to build a new stadium on a federally-owned RFK Stadium site is off the table until the name is changed.