FedEx has requested the Washington Redskins to change the team name.
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx said in a statement Thursday.
The company has naming rights through 2025 to the stadium where the team plays in Prince George’s County, Maryland. While Dan Snyder owns the team, FedEx Chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith is a member of the team’s ownership group.
The company paid the team $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover.
The debate over the name has been brewing for decades, and most recently has come back into focus as the nation grapples with race issues.
Investors have been pressuring sponsors to break ties with the Washington team unless it changes its name.
Three separate letters signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders worth some $620 billion asked FedEx, Nike and Pepsi, to end their relationships with the team unless it agrees to change its name, Adweek reported.
Following FedEx’s name change request, Nike appeared to remove all its Washington Redskins merchandise and apparel off its online website. The athletic clothing company did not respond to an email message seeking comment.
WTOP has reached out to the team and the team said it had “no comment at this time.”
Talks are ongoing with Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia on a new stadium that would replace FedEx Field when its lease expires in 2027, including at the site of its old home RFK Stadium in D.C., The Associated Press reported.
D.C. leaders and the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee told The Washington Post that unless the team changes its name, the RFK Stadium site is off the table.
“There is no viable path, locally or federally, for the Washington football team to return to Washington, D.C., without first changing the team name,” D.C. Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio told The Washington Post.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the name “an obstacle” to the team building a new stadium and headquarters in the nation’s capital.
Snyder told USA Today in 2013 that, “We will never change the name of the team.”
Asked about Snyder changing the name, a spokesman said recently the team had no comment, The Associated Press reported.
In recent weeks, the team removed the name of its segregationist former owner George Preston Marshall from the stadium’s Ring of Fame, and its lower bowl. A statue of Marshall also was removed at RFK Stadium.
- Redskins coach: Name change is ‘discussion for another time’
- Column: Now is the time for ‘Redskins’ to go
- Debate on racism renews calls for Redskins to change name
The Associated Press contributed to this report.