WASHINGTON (AP/WJZ) — The Washington Redskins are launching a thorough review of its name after the title sponsor of their stadium asked the NFL team to change its name.
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx said in a statement Thursday.
On Friday morning, the Redskins’ released a statement saying they were reviewing the name.
In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name. This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.
“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,” said Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder.
“This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military,” Ron Rivera, Head Coach of the Washington Redskins, remarked.
We believe this review can and will be conducted with the best interest of all in mind.
The company paid the team $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
In addition to the stadium name and sponsorship agreement, FedEx CEO Frederik Smith is a minority owner. Majority owner Daniel Snyder has shown no indications he’ll change the name since buying the team in 1999.
Amid the national debate over race, pressure has been mounting on the organization to abandon the name called a “dictionary-defined racial slur” by experts and advocates.
Investors this week wrote to FedEx, PepsiCo and other sponsors asking them to request a change. FedEx is believed to be the first to take action.
On Thursday night, Nike appeared to remove all Redskins gear from its online store. The other 31 NFL teams were listed and a search for “Redskins” came up with no results. Nike did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment.
Asked about Snyder changing the name, a spokesman said recently the team had no comment. The team last week removed the name of racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame at FedEx Field, and a monument to him was removed from the site of the old RFK Stadium.
Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser also said the name was an “obstacle” to the team returning to the District. The team’s lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and it is still talking to Washington, Virginia and Maryland about building a new stadium.
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