Late last week, FedEx, which owns the sponsorship rights to the stadium in Landover, Maryland, where the Washington Redskins play football, requested the team change its name.
The shipping and logistics company, which signed a deal worth $205 million in the late 1990s that runs through the 2025 season, released a diplomatic statement expressing its interest in a name change.
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx said in a statement on July 2.
However, according to reporting by The Washington Post on July 10, FedEx made more than a firm request.
It threatened, in a two-page letter, to remove its name and logo from the stadium at the end of the upcoming season unless the team committed to the name change.
A spokesperson, when asked about the Post’s report, told WTOP that FedEx had no comment beyond the July 2 statement.
The Washington Post report has details of a letter sent from FedEx to the Redskins organization.
The newspaper did not receive a copy of the letter, but its report was based on a summary of the letter’s contents by a person who saw it but was not authorized to speak about it.
The FedEx request on July 2 prompted a number of other organizations — including Nike and PepsiCo — to also put pressure on the team.
The next day, July 3, the Redskins announced they would undertake a “thorough review” of the team’s name, which has been in use since the 1930s.
The team’s announcement was heralded as a positive step by Native American activists, the NFL and local politicians in Prince George’s County, where the stadium is located, and in Washington, where the team is considering moving at some point in the future.