The racism debate in the United States triggered by the Black Lives Matter movement is also affecting American football. The main sponsor of the Washington Redskins, FedEx, has reportedly asked the NFL team to rename itself. "We communicated to the team in Washington our request to change the name of the team," quoted US media such as the New York Times in a message from the package service provider.
The name of the football team has long been criticized. Representatives of the indigenous population have been pushing for a name change for decades.
The club announced in response to a request that the name be given a thorough review in light of recent events in the country and feedback from the area. This would formalize initial discussions between the team and the league in recent weeks. Team owner Dan Snyder pointed out that contributions from outside, including sponsors, could also be taken into account.
Previously, according to a report by Adweek magazine, 87 investment firms and partners in a letter said that main sponsors FedEx, Nike, and Pepsi should stop working with the NFL team if they refused. The term remains a dehumanizing word that characterizes people by their skin color, and a racist insult with hateful connotations, Adweek quoted from the letter.
FedEx had secured the naming rights for the equivalent of around 182.5 million euros by 2025 at the stadium in the state of Maryland near Washington, which has since been called FedExField. CEO Frederick Smith is a minority owner of the team.
Pepsi and Mars are rethinking their own brands
Several brands and institutions had previously announced plans to change logos and names. For example, the US beverage and food company PepsiCo will give its Aunt Jemima brand a new name and change the packaging. In the fourth quarter, the 130-year-old logo, which shows a black woman as a friendly servant, is said to have disappeared from the packaging of the pancake mixes and other breakfast products.
The US company Mars also wants to give its rice brand Uncle Ben's a new brand appearance. Uncle Ben's rice is known for the image of a black man with white hair. Critics point out that in the case of Uncle Ben's, a black man was used as the face of a white company.
A change of name is also pending at Princeton, the US elite university. She wants to rename her political institute named after ex-president Woodrow Wilson because of his racist stance. Wilson's racist view and politics made him an unsuitable namesake, according to university president Christopher Eisgruber. The racism of the then president, even by the standards of his era, was considerable and had serious consequences.