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FedEx, which paid $205 million for naming rights to the Washington Redskins' stadium, asks team to change its name

A Washington Redskins helmet is seen on the field before the game between the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on December 15, 2019 in Landover, Maryland.Scott Taetsch | Getty Images

FedEx has asked the Washington Redskins to change its team name, which many people consider a racial slur against Native Americans.

A FedEx spokesman told CNBC: "We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name."

FedEx is the most important business partner of the team to take a stance against the name yet. It bought naming rights to the team's home stadium, FedEx Field, in 1998 for $205 million in a deal that runs through 2025. Frederick Smith, FedEx CEO, is a minority owner of the team.

Earlier this week, a group of investors publicly pressured big companies such as Nike, FedEx, and Pepsi to sever relationships with the team over the name. Native Americans have challenged the team name going back to the 1960s.

But in recent weeks, the pressure to change the name has grown as many NFL players have become increasingly outspoken about the NFL's role in racial issues after the death of George Floyd in police custody in May.

References to team founder George Preston Marshall, who named the team in 1933, were removed from team materials last month because he was a vocal supporter of racial segregation. The name is also a sticking point in negotiations over a potential new stadium in Washington D.C., the Washington Post reported this week.

A team spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Owner Daniel Snyder has previously said he will never change the name.

"We'll never change the name," Snyder told USA Today in 2013. "It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps."

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