Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo Challenged to Divorce Redskins
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.
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.
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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.
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Chris Russell is the Publisher of RedskinsReport.com & 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 Radio.com. Chris also hosts the "Locked on Redskins" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at russellmania09@Gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621.