These Companies Are Distancing Themselves From the Washington Redskins

The Washington Redskins are being asked to rebrand (again), and until they do so, companies are distancing themselves. The team's name is widely considered a racial slur to Native Americans, and amid the global conversations about systemic racism and white supremacy, the team has felt pressure to change their name. In the meantime, brands such as Target, Nike and Walmart have pulled Redskins merchandise from their sites and stores.

On July 1, according to AdWeek, major corporations FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo each received letters signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders, asking the them to sever ties with the Washington Redskins unless the team rebrands itself. Within a few days of those letters, each company has released a statement regarding the contentious name, and others have followed suit.

Alternate names have been suggested, such as the Washington Senators, the Washington Warriors and the Washington Federals.

Washington Redskins, NFL
A detail view of a Washington Redskins before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 8, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Quinn Harris/Getty

"In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team's name," the team said in a statement on Friday, July 3. "This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks."

"This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field," Redskins owner Dan Snyder said the same day.

Snyder previously resisted calls to change the team's name, and infamously said during a 2013 USA Today Sports interview: "We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps."

In the meantime, until the Redskins are renamed, these companies are cutting back on their association with the NFL team.

Dick's Sporting Goods

As of Monday, July 6, Dick's Sporting Goods appeared to remove Redskins merchandise from their website. The company has yet to release an official statement.

FedEx

On July 2, the shipping company, who holds the naming rights to the Redskins' home stadium, FedEx Field, increased the pressure for the NFL team to change their name. FedEx holds the stadium's naming rights through 2025. The company bought the stadium's naming rights in 1998 for $205 million. "We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name," the company said in a statement, according to USA Today. Frederick Smith, the chairman, CEO and president of FedEx Corporation, also owns a minority stake in the Redskins.

Nike has removed all Washington #Redskins merchandise from their website. pic.twitter.com/zZvdHlL3Ld

— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) July 3, 2020

Nike

Just hours after FedEx made its request on July 2, the sporting goods brand and official NFL jersey supplier appeared to pull their gear from their website amid the NFL's review of the team name. "We have been talking to the NFL and sharing our concerns regarding the name of the Washington team," the company said in a statement, as per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "We are pleased to see the team taking a first step towards change."

We have been in conversations with @NFL and Washington management for a few weeks about this issue. We believe it is time for a change. We are pleased to see the steps the team announced today and we look forward to continued partnership. https://t.co/3lSTaVF7uW

— PepsiCo (@PepsiCo) July 3, 2020

PepsiCo

"We have been in conversations with the NFL and Washington management for a few weeks about this issue," PepsiCo said in a statement on July 3, after receiving pleas from dozens of companies, as per Adweek. "We believe it is time for a change. We are pleased to see the steps the team announced today and we look forward to continued partnership."

#Redskins gear is off of https://t.co/JKhi6j9D4d as well pic.twitter.com/Hibo2XC3tZ

— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) July 6, 2020

Target

On July 6, Target pulled their Washington Redskins merchandise from their website. "We are in the process of removing the items from our assortment," they said in a statement, according to CNN.

Given today’s announcement by the NFL and the Washington team’s ownership, we are discontinuing the sale of items that reference the team’s name and logo. https://t.co/LtT7m7H3we

— Walmart Inc. (@WalmartInc) July 3, 2020

Walmart

Walmart said in a statement on Twitter on July 3 that it was "discontinuing the sale of items that reference the team's name and logo," attaching the article about the NFL announcement regarding the Redskins' name.

Amid these companies distancing themselves, as of Monday evening, there are more 161,000 Washington Redskins items for sale on Ebay.