Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo Challenged to Divorce Redskins

Chris Russell

Another day, another drama playing out that has nothing to do with football and the Washington Redskins. 

In case you didn't click through - per Adweek, investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion (gulp!) have asked Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to terminate sponsorships with the Washington Redskins. 

Hot Read: Ron Rivera asked and kicks name change question to the curb 

The report  by Adweek says three different letters signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders were addressed last week to the three major corporations.

That doesn't mean that these billion dollar behemoths will actually do anything and it's hard to see all three joining together and pulling out of partnerships with an NFL franchise that while struggling, is still a global brand partner. 

It could just take one however to tip the scales. 

Clearly, this is newsworthy and probably the most significant threat to the financial well being of the Redskins, unless you count the massive hemorrhaging they've suffered in the stands at FedExField and in the overall fan base which has seen a massive drop off over the last decade. 

When you combine this situation along with the developing drama in D.C., along with the social justice reform - the situation is becoming impossible to ignore. 

Hot Read: D.C. Mayor Says No Go for Redskins 

I don't think either of these companies would even think twice about a decision like this in previous years and campaigns. 

However, the world has radically shifted in many, many ways. 

Diversity, inclusion and social justice is more important than ever and that could force one or more of these companies hands. 

If this was just complaints from customers of these products, you would never see it go anywhere. Because it comes from shareholders and investment firms (reportedly), the pressure will be much greater. 

The Redskins won't change their name for one sponsor but if all three pull out simultaneously, especially FedEx, which has their brand on the Redskins current home FedExField, that could be a different story. 

However, Fred Smith is the Chairman, President and CEO of FedEx and he's a minority partner (owner) in the Washington Redskins and has been for a long time. 

If he really wanted to change his affiliation with the team, he would have done so in the past. Right? 

In my opinion that all but eliminates one of the three.

PepsiCo Inc. is currently under a ten-year agreement with the NFL that reportedly was renewed starting in 2012. If they kick the Redskins to the curb, that could be and likely would be looked at as a huge kick to the face of Roger Goodell, the shield and his absurdly rich cronies. 

It's not just about the Redskins, if Pepsi decides to walk away. 

The same goes true for Nike, which just did a long-term extension with the NFL as a league until 2028. 

If they divorce the Redskins, how will that sit with Jerry Jones and the  other 30 owners? 

The overall point is that one or more of these three companies could decide to leave their partnership with the Redskins depending on how the contract  between the parties is written, but if we're using common sense, it stands to reason that all three have very little to gain and a lot to lose. 

What do you think these three enormous brands and companies should do? Sign up free, register and join us by voicing your opinion on our community pages and right below!

Chris Russell is the Publisher of & Sports Illustrated's Washington Redskins channel. He can be heard on 106.7 The FAN in the Washington D.C. area and world-wide on Chris also hosts the "Locked on Redskins" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621.

Register today for free or log in to access this premium article.
Comments (5)
No. 1-4

Screw All these crybabies the name is the Redskins and it should remain the Redskins now you all need to shut up and play football.


Wondering the impact this could have on the stocks


This shouldn't be hard. Just change the name.


Redskins Name Must Go : You will laugh - Must read - Response to Chicago Tribune story and a little bit of my own McDaddy REDSKINS pride:

No matter which side you are on in the matter of renaming the Washington Redskins, this is funny. This guy is hilarious...

Dear Mr. Page: I agree with our Native American population. I am highly insulted by the racially charged name of the Washington Redskins.

One might argue that to name a professional football team after Native Americans would exalt them as fine warriors, but nay, nay. We must be careful not to offend, and in the spirit of political correctness and courtesy, we must move forward.

Let's ditch the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Braves, Florida Seminoles, Chicago Black-hawks and the Cleveland Indians. If your shorts are in a wad because of the reference the name Redskins makes to skin color, then we need to get rid of the Cleveland Browns immediately as well.

The Carolina Panthers obviously were named to keep the memory of militant Blacks from the 60's alive. Gone. It's offensive.

The New York Yankees offend the Southern population. Do you see a team named for the Confederacy? No! There is no room for any reference to that tragic war that cost this country so many young men's lives.

I am also offended by the blatant references to the Catholic religion among our sports team names. Totally inappropriate to have the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Angels or the San Diego Padres.

There is no place for Satan and glorifying hell in sports so do away with those dammed Depaul Blue Demons, Arizona Sun Devils and the Duke Blue Devils! God help us all !!!

Then there are the team names that glorify criminals who raped and pillaged. We are talking about the horrible Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, The Old Miss Rebels the Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Pirates!

Now, let us address those teams that clearly send the wrong message to our children. The San Diego Chargers promote irresponsible fighting or even spending habits. Wrong message to our children.

The New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants promote obesity, a growing childhood epidemic. Wrong message to our children.

The Cincinnati Reds promote downers/barbiturates. Wrong message to our children.

The Milwaukee Brewers. Well that goes without saying. Wrong message to our children.

The Green Bay Packers is offensive to our gay community! The name must go...

To be honest with everyone as an animal lover who was disgusted by the Mike Vick animal cruelty act a few years back I think it's absolute insanity to have the Lions and the Jaguars battling it out on the ground floor of an arena of 100,000 screaming fans watching them beat the hell out of each other ! We should ban all animal names in sports. Very distasteful. Shame on those animal haters.

As a die-hard Oregon State fan, my wife and I, with all of this in mind, suggest it might also make some sense to change the name of the Oregon State women's athletic teams to something other than "the Beavers (especially when they play Southern California once a year. Do we really want the Trojans sticking it to the Beavers??? Or the shame name to our Oregon State women's athletic teams? The South Carolina Gamecocks may be a front runner in this time of change as well, wouldn't you all agree?

This downward spiral has now reached our high schools where we they now have teams called the Yuma Criminals, Butternut Midgets and the Centralia Orphans!!!

Whoever buys a ticket to the Midgets against the Orphans game needs to take a long look in the mirror folks. This is absolutely inhumane

You get the picture right? Unless we call all our sports teams names of pretty flowers and plants just to be safe we are going to catch hell from someone!

Oh wait just a minute: We can't do that either ! The Pussy Willows, Sticky Willy's, Nipple Worts and of course world renown strong smelling "Stiffcocks Plant" will surely put us right back where we started.

I have the solution : If you do not like football or sports or the names of the teams, then don't watch it ! Go play some bad-mitten, pig-pong or croquet and leave us football and baseball fans alone :)