“We notified the team in Washington of our request to change the team name,” FedEx said in a statement to CNN Business.
The service delivery company – which sponsors and has the right to name the stadium where the Washington team plays – released its statement after more than 80 groups and shareholders investing in the company sent a letter to FedEx CEO Frederick Smith urging him to “terminate his office “business and public relations” with the franchise because of the name.
CNN Business also contacted the NFL and the team for comment.
In a letter to Smith, investors, who said they represented more than $ 620 billion in assets, noted that the word “Red Skin” remains “a dehumanizing word that characterizes people by skin color and racial adultery with hateful connotations.”
“Almost every major national American Indian organization has denied the use of images, names, and symbols associated with Indians and Indians, belittling or insulting Native American peoples, with over 2,000 academic institutions eliminating‘ Indian ’sports references,” they wrote.
“In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has drawn worldwide attention to a century of systemic racism, we are witnessing a fresh outpouring of opposition to the team’s name,” the investors wrote. “So it’s time for FedEx to realize the magnitude of this moment, to make its opposition to the racist team’s name clear, and to take tangible and meaningful steps to put pressure on the team to stop using it.”
Letters to Nike and Pepsi resounded in that language. For example, in a letter to Nike CEO John Donahoe, investors acknowledged that Nike had “taken steps to be more transparent about its workforce diversity.” Investors also noted that Nike “helped hold a public debate on systemic racism and police brutality” by launching an ad campaign involving four-legged Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice while playing in the league.
“However, Nike continues to provide uniforms and equipment” for the Washington NFL team, investors said, adding that “this association with racism inherent in the name and logo and facilitation is widespread with the company’s very opinion.”
As early as Thursday night, Nike’s red leather goods don’t seem to be available at Nike’s online store. Goods representing every other NFL team were on the list. Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
– Jill Martin contributed to this report.