Citing broadcasters, legislators and others who have said the name is a racial slur, some shareholders filed a proposal at FedEx's annual shareholders meeting Monday (Sept. 29) to "drop or distance ties" to the Washington Redskins until its ownership changes the name.
FedEx is the name sponsor on the team's stadium, and a spokesperson for the company said it continued to value the association with the stadium, which he pointed out is used for more than just the team's games.
The proposal was led by the Oneida Trust of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.
"We consider the Washington team name a racial slur, tracing back to colonial times when bounties were paid on a sliding scale for the skins of Native men, women and children, and traded like animal hides," Susan White, trust director of the tribe told the board, according to the group. "The term did not describe actions that honored Indian peoples then and it still represents racism and genocide today for Native peoples.”
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has vowed not to change the name, but has been under pressure from primarily Democratic legislators and some former and current FCC officials who have added their voices to those calling for a change.
In July, FedEx, with the blessing of the Securities and Exchange Commission, succeeded in blocking an effort by the same groups to get a similar proposal into its proxy statement.
"FedEx has closely followed the dialogue and difference of opinion concerning the Washington Redskins team name, but we continue to direct questions about the name to the franchise owner," said FedEx SVP Patrick Fitzgerald. "We highly value our sponsorship of FedExField, which not only hosts the Washington Redskins, but is home to a variety of major entertainment and sports events and multiple community activities. We are proud that FedExField is a venue that is used by a wide range of community groups."