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FedEx Asks Washington Redskins Team To Change Name

FedEx is asking NFL team Washington Redskins to change its name for its racist connotations. The delivery services company, which is a major sponsor for the team, made the suggestion following increasing pressure from its investors amid the ongoing protests against racial injustice and inequality that arose from the killing of African-American George Floyd.

FedEx said in a statement, "We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name."

The company reportedly put forward the request after its CEO Frederick Smith received a letter from more than 80 groups and shareholders that invest in the company. The investors urged the company, which holds the naming rights to the team's stadium, to terminate its business and public relationships with the franchise because of its name.

In the letter, the investors, who claimed to represent $620 billion in assets, noted that the word "Redskins" remains a de-humanizing word characterizing people by skin color and a racial slur with hateful connotations.

They pointed out that almost all major national American Indian organization has denounced use of Indian and Native related images, names and symbols disparaging or offending American Indian peoples.

They wrote, "In light of the Black Lives Matter movement that has focused the world's attention on centuries of systemic racism, we are witnessing a fresh outpouring of opposition to the team name. Therefore, it is time for FedEx to meet the magnitude of this moment, to make their opposition to the racist team name clear, and to take tangible and meaningful steps to exert pressure on the team to cease using it."

Investors have also sent similar letters to the CEOs of Nike, the maker of Redskins uniforms and equipment, as well as the team's snack and beverage partner Pepsi regarding the name change.

In support of the Black Lives Matter Movement that arose following the killing of Floyd, major companies are taking steps to replace and rename certain brands that have some connections to racial inequality. Quaker Oats, owned by Pepsico, announced that it will rebrand more than 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand. Further, Mars' Uncle Ben's brand and Conagra Brands' Mrs. Butterworth's food brand are reviewing re-branding.

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