Washington D.C.’s football team management agreed to change the team’s name after recent renewed pressure from activists and investors on companies associated with the team. A trust director of the Oneida Tribe of Indians explained that the team’s previous name “is a dehumanizing word with hateful connotations for Native American peoples and others concerned about human rights. We consider the Washington team name a racial slur, tracing back to colonial times when bounties were paid on a sliding scale for the skins of Native men, women, and children…”. A study referenced in the Wall Street Journal showed that amongst those who strongly identify as Native Americans, 67%, found the team’s name to be offensive.
Since 2013, Friends Fiduciary has advocated with companies associated with the franchise to change the name of the team. Requests by activists and investors including Friends Fiduciary initially faced resistance from the team owner, Daniel Snyder, who said that he would never change the name.
• In 2013, Friends Fiduciary signed on a letter sent to former Washington D.C. Representative Faleomavaega supporting him for sponsoring the Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons and Peoples in Trademark Registration Act of 2013, which prohibits commercial use of Native American slurs.
• On September 29, 2014, investors including Friends Fiduciary sent a letter asking FedEx to disassociate themselves from the team until the name changes.
• Recently on June 26th, Friends Fiduciary joined other investors in calling on Pepsi, FedEx, and Nike to terminate their business relationships with the team.
The latest push by activists and investors brought tremendous public pressure on FedEx, PepsiCo, Nike, and Bank of America, which then directed that pressure towards the team’s management, leading to the announcement on July 3rd of a thorough review of the team’s name. On July 13th, the team announced that the original name and logo would be terminated. Friends Fiduciary commends the Washington D.C. team for making the change, and firmly stands against racial discrimination of any kind.