FedEx has formally asked the Washington Redskins to change their name. The football team's name, and accompanying mascot, has been a hotly-contested issue for years, which has only intensified after weeks of civil rights protests have continued across the U.S.
The request came from FedEx directly, which is the corporate sponsor of the team stadium in Landover, Maryland, according to WJLA. "We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name," the statement read. FedEx is also reportedly not alone in this decision, either. AdWeek also reports that two additional sponsors are making a similar request of the team.
Among those who've joined the calls to rename the Redskins is Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who spoke about the issue on The Team 980 & 95.9 FM. "I think it's past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people, and this is a great franchise with a great history that's beloved in Washington, and it deserves a name that reflects the affection that we've built for the team," Bowser said. She also mentioned the name hurts the team, particularly when they come to play in the new stadium in D.C. Although she admitted that it's not the only obstacle for the Redskins playing in D.C. "It's an obstacle for us locally but is also an obstacle for the federal government who leases the land to us," she added.
Despite the fact that the NFL team and its management have heard the request for years, there has been little inclination for action on its part. Back in 2013, team owner Daniel Snyder told USA Today that changing the name is not an option. "We will never change the name of the team," Snyder said. "As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it's all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season."
Snyder's prior comments such as that caused some significant backlash after the Redskins participated in Blackout Tuesday in June. The team's official Twitter account posted a photo of a black square to show support for racial equality, though fans and critics alike saw this tweet and responded with harsh criticism. Several called for Snyder for change, citing the racist history of the term itself.