Racism debate: sponsor calls for Washington Redskins to change name

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Sport Racism debate

Sponsor calls for Washington Redskins name change

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In the past, there have always been discussions about the NFL team Washington Redskins. More precisely: around the name. It happened? Nothing. According to recent events, there are concrete demands. The club comments.

IIn the wake of the racism debate in the United States, main sponsor FedEx has reportedly asked the NFL team Washington Redskins to rename itself. “We communicated our request to the team in Washington to change the name of the team,” quote US media from a message from the package service provider.

The name of the football team (in German for example: red skins) has long been considered controversial. Native American representatives have been pushing for a name change for decades.

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The club then announced on Friday that the name would be subjected to a thorough review in the light of recent events in the country and feedback from the surrounding area. This would formalize initial discussions between the team and the league in recent weeks. Team owner Dan Snyder pointed out that contributions from outside, including sponsors, could also be taken into account.

“A dehumanizing word”

Prior to this, according to a report by Adweek magazine, 87 investment firms and partners in a letter had asked main sponsors FedEx, Nike and Pepsi to end their collaboration with the NFL team if they refused. “‘Redskins’ remains a dehumanizing word that characterizes people by their skin color and a racist insult with hateful connotations,” quoted “Adweek” from the letter.

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Sport as a political stage

FedEx had secured the naming rights for the equivalent of around 182.5 million euros by 2025 at the stadium in the state of Maryland near Washington, which has since been called FedExField. CEO Frederick Smith is a minority owner of the team.

The death of African-American George Floyd during a police operation in late May and the subsequent protests have given the debate on racism in the United States a significant boost.

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