NEW YORK (Reuters) – Key sponsor FedEx Corp has asked the Washington Redskins to change their name, adding to renewed calls for the NFL franchise to be rebranded.
FedEx has the naming rights to the team’s Landover, Maryland, stadium, known as FedExField, under a 27-year deal for which it paid $205 million in 1999, according to media reports at the time.
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” the company said on Thursday.
FedEx declined to elaborate on why it made the request.
Critics have ramped up pressure on the team to change its name, which is widely seen as a racial slur against Native Americans, after the death of George Floyd in police custody set off widespread protests for racial justice across the United States.
The Kansas City Chiefs, which claimed the Vince Lombardi Trophy in February, faced similar criticism from Native American advocates in the run-up to their Super Bowl win.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has previously said that he would not change the franchise’s name, the topic of fierce debate for years. The team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting By Amy Tennery; editing by Richard Pullin)