Corporate America says it is time to change the name.
Someone from Federal Express was silent for decades. That person apparently watched social protests in American streets and decided now is the time that the National Football League’s Washington team needs a new name. That is a problem for the Washington franchise and the NFL because Federal Express is the naming rights holder of the Landover, Maryland stadium where that team is located. Federal Express is also the Official Delivery Service Sponsor of the NFL. FEDEX bought the naming rights to the stadium in 1998. The company’s CEO Fred Smith has a small ownership in the team’s business and apparently was fine with the name until July 2nd. That is when FEDEX decided the name was no good and FEDEX was not alone. NIKE and PepsiCo also decided it was time for the name to go.
In the past there has been pressure on the team owner, Dan Snyder, to change the name. He said no. But now the money people are unhappy. Suddenly the NFL and Snyder are reviewing the name. In 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office said the Redskins name and logo should not have trademark protection. Also, in 2014, the Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin asked Federal Express to drop its naming rights sponsorship of Snyder’s stadium. Federal Express refused the request. The NFL has never acted in the way the NCAA did to get rid of school nicknames that were considered offensive. In August 2005, the NCAA decided that 19 schools had names or mascots that were “hostile or abusive”. Eventually the problem was solved and new names appeared. If a local tribe approved of a name, like Seminoles in Florida, the school could keep the name. The money people have finally decided Snyder needs to change the name. Snyder may not be able to say no any longer.