The title sponsor for the Washington Redskins’ home stadium, FedEx Field, has formally asked for the team to change its nickname.
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,“ Memphis-based FedEx said in a statement emailed to the USA TODAY Network.
The move that comes after investors of several major sponsors— including FedEx, Nike and Pepsi — sent letters to the companies calling for them to end their business relationships with the team.
Not only does the delivery giant’s request carry significant weight as the title sponsor of FedEx Field, but the company’s chairman — Frederick Smith — holds a minority stake in the NFL team’s ownership group. In 1998, FedEx paid $205 million to the Redskins for the naming rights to the stadium, a deal that runs through 2025.
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Meanwhile, Nike recently removed all Redskins gear from its website. A search for “Washington Redskins” on the company’s products page returns no results. Also, the team isn’t listed among the other 31 NFL clubs as an option to filter the site’s NFL-related products.
Team owner Daniel Snyder has resisted previous calls to do away with the name “Redskins,” which is considered to be a racial slur by many Native Americans. He told USA TODAY Sports in a 2013 interview: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”