FedEx sent a private letter to Washington on July 2 notifying the team that unless it changes the “Redskins” name, the shipping giant, which is in the midst of a multi-million-dollar stadium naming rights deal with the club, will pull its signage from the venue following the 2020 season, according to The Washington Post. That would put an end to the $205 million naming rights deal — which FedEx and Washington signed back in 1999 — six years prematurely.
Along with this private two-page letter, FedEx publicly announced in a brief statement on July 2 that it has “communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.”
The private letter goes a bit more in-depth. According to The Washington Post, which was given a summary of the contents of the letter by a person not authorized to share or speak on it publicly, FedEx relayed that its company was founded on a “people-first philosophy” and practiced diversity and inclusion. Being associated with the team name flies in the face of that mission statement and jeopardizes what makes FedEx customers feel favorable about the company. The letter closed with FedEx hoping that a name change was on the horizon and could create a more positive perception of the club and lessen the company’s concerns.
This is just the latest piece of pressure being placed on Washington owner Dan Snyder to change the “Redskins” nickname, which has been in use since 1933 and has drawn criticism for being considered a racial slur towards Native Americans.
On top of FedEx, which has been trying to get a name change for years, threatening to remove its signage from the stadium, multiple other business partners like Nike, Target, Walmart, and Amazon have removed team gear from their websites. That potential loss in revenue for the franchise does appear to be a breaking point for Snyder as the team announced on July 3 that it will “undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.”
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise, but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said in the statement.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has also come out in support of a name change review. Washington’s Ron Rivera, who is one of the only handful of minority head coaches in the NFL, said it “would be awesome” if the name could be changed prior to the 2020 season.
As for what Washington’s could adopt as its new nickname, ‘Warriors’ is reportedly the leading candidate.