(CBS) — FedEx, the title sponsor for of the Washington Redskins’ stadium, has asked the team to change their name. The request to the NFL team comes amid weeks of pressure for companies and cities to cut ties with brands, monuments and emblems linked to racism.
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx said in a statement to CBS News.
The term ‘redskin’ is a slur against Native Americans.
FedEx got the naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, in 1999 as part of a $205 million deal with the team, according to The Associated Press. FedEx CEO Frederik Smith is also a minority owner of the D.C. team. Earlier in the week, investors asked the company, as well as PepsiCo and others, to request an end to the Redskins name, according to the Associated Press.
The team told CBS News they currently do not have a comment on whether the team’s majority owner Daniel Snyder will support changing the team name. Snyder has not shown any indication that he will change the team’s name since he bought the Redskins in 1999, the AP reported.
The team has, however, made some moves to separate itself from racist connotations. Last week, they removed the name of founder George Preston Marshall from the Ring of Fame at FedEx Field, and replaced it with Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell, the team’s first Black player, the AP said. They also removed a monument of Marshall, who the AP described as a segregationist who refused to sign Black players to the football team until 1962, from their old stadium.
The team’s lease at FedEx field expires in 2027, according to AP, and the owners are currently talking to officials in Washington, Virginia and Maryland about future stadium plans.