Dan Snyder said in 2013 that he would never change the name of his Washington Redskins. But the NFL team owner is facing a new level of pressure, administered by 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a total of $620 billion. They've asked Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to end their relationships with the team unless it's renamed, Adweek reports. Institutional investors are more concerned lately about brands that seem to clash with their advocacy of inclusion. "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," said a director of one of the firms. This movement is broader, she said. "With social media now, obviously everything is very different."
Letters were sent to each of the brands quoting their promise to battle systemic racism, per NBC Sports. The letter to Nike, for example, then says that the company nonetheless "produces and sells thousands of jerseys and other apparel with the team’s racist name and logo." The letter to FedEx points out that the company bought the naming rights to the Redskins' stadium, which run through 2025. The letter had an effect: On Thursday, FedEx issued a statement saying, "We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name," per ESPN. The chairman of FedEx owns a minority stake in the team, per USA Today. Past protests and court cases failed to get the franchise to change its name, which it's had since 1933. (More Washington Redskins stories.)