Last Updated: 02/07/20 2:04pm
A group of investment firms and shareholders are lobbying Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to end their sponsorship agreements with the Washington Redskins unless the team changes its nickname, Adweek reported on Wednesday.
The Redskins nickname has survived multiple challenges over the years, with many Native American groups labelling the name racist.
The latest move came in the form of letters sent Friday to the three companies, per Adweek. The request was reportedly backed by 87 firms, headed by First Peoples Worldwide, Oneida Nation Trust Enrollment Committee, Trillium Asset Management, Boston Trust Walden, Mercy Investment Services and First Affirmative Financial Network.
The group behind the letter have combined assets of $620 billion, according to the report.
First Peoples Worldwide director Carla Fredericks told Adweek, “This is a broader movement now that’s happening that Indigenous peoples are part of.
“Indigenous peoples were sort of left out of the civil rights movement in the late 1960s in many respects, because our conditions were so dire on reservations and our ability to engage publicly was very limited because of that. With social media now, obviously everything is very different.”
FedEx is the title sponsor of the Redskins’ home stadium, FedExField in Landover, Maryland.
The letter to Nike reportedly read, in part: “We appreciate that Nike has spoken up in support of the protests stating ‘Systemic racism and the events that have unfolded across America over the past few weeks serve as an urgent reminder of the continued change needed in our society. The Nike, Inc. family can always do more but will never stop striving to role model how a diverse company acts.’
“However, Nike continues to provide uniforms and equipment to the Washington D.C. NFL football team which bears the logo and name. Further, it produces and sells thousands of jerseys and other apparel with the team’s racist name and logo.
“This association with and facilitation of the racism inherent in the name and logo runs contrary to the very sentiments expressed by the company.”
Adweek reported Nike and Pepsi refused to comment on the letters while FedEx referred questions about the football team’s nickname to Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.
The Redskins also declined comment according to Adweek.
Snyder has said the team will not change the nickname as long as he is in charge.