Oneida Indian Tribe asks FedEx to 'drop or distance' ties to Redskins
The Oneida Indian Nation asked FedEx shareholders at a meeting on Monday to "drop or distance" its ties to the Washington Redskins. The shipping company reportedly rebuffed the Oneida Tribe's request.
FedEx is the title sponsor of the Redskins' home stadium, FedExField. From Bloomberg:
“We are the only race of people dehumanized by an NFL team,” Susan White, director of the Oneida Trust of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, told shareholders. “Washington Redskins is the most egregious.”
FedEx didn’t immediately disclose the vote count, saying it would be included in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing later today.
“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,” Patrick Fitzgerald, FedEx senior vice president for marketing and communications, said in an e-mailed statement.
Patrick Fitzgerald, FedEx senior vice president for marketing and communications, reportedly said in an email that the company is monitoring the "difference of opinion" surrounding the Redskins' name.
The Osage Nation said last week that it is boycotting the company because of its connection to the Redskins until the team's name is changed to something "less inflammatory and insulting."
The team's name has increasingly come under scrutiny from Native American groups, lawmakers, media members and other observers, who say the name is offensive and racist toward the Native American community. Defenders of the name, including team owner Daniel Snyder, say it honors Native Americans as well as the team's history.
In June, the United States Patent and Trademark Office canceled six federal trademark registrations for the Redskins. Multiple print and television media members and publications have decided not to use the name.
A letter signed by 50 U.S. senators and endorsed by majority leader Harry Reid urged NFL leadership to press for a name change.
Redskins president Bruce Allen responded with his own letter. "With over 81 years of tradition created by thousands of alumni and millions of fans, the Redskins team name continues to carry a deep and purposeful meaning," he wrote.
Snyder has repeatedly said he will never change the name.