There's been a lot of consternation in the sports world about the history of systemic racism, and the reliance on offensive nicknames for teams. Dozens of franchises and universities have profited off of trademarked names, logos, mascots, and merchandise that directly crudely depicts Native Americans and other minority groups. So as the public consciousness oscillates wildly around these hot topics, big business is increasingly coming down on the side of progress and common sense.
The NFL didn't have a problem with the Washington "Redskins" until very recently, and now because of corporate sponsors threatening to pull out due to social pressure, the team will undergo a "review" of the name aka a name change. This began the domino effect, first when Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians considered doing the same, then the team's stadium sponsor FedEx ($NYSE:FDX) got involved, and now three minority owners are reportedly attempting to sell their portion of the team.
If you lose Target ($NYSE:TGT) and Walmart ($NYSE:WMT) it's effectively game over for your sales. At the end of the day, this is all about money; new jerseys, new logos, new sales, new fans, new money. That's what FedEx stands to gain by doing this.
Target website right now — "We couldn’t find any results for "Washington Redskins : Fan Shop Clothing" https://t.co/ghRYKwjtp2— J.R. Reed (@JRReed) July 6, 2020
Redskins currently absent from Walmart's NFL Fan Shop: https://t.co/rrYX3ReinJ https://t.co/qgXTF1oeu2
One of those co-owners looking to sell is FedEx CEO Fred Smith, who wisely knows which way the wind is blowing. FedEx Field is where Washington plays, and having the company put out a statement on the matter will force the NFL's hand, especially majority owner Dan Snyder: "We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx officially said.
So where does that leave FedEx? What do they have to gain by looking like the heroes of this story? Coming out in front of the controversy, advocating for change, will certainly help it earn goodwill with customers and fans, as long as people forgive late packages.
The FedEx Twitter account is close to breaking 300,000 followers, and this news could put them over the top.
We also expect their Facebook likes to get closer to three million, and have a boost in 'Talking About' count when the team changes its name and the season starts again. Whenever that is, but FedEx Field will be the topic of conversation for a few more months because of this entire ordeal, that's for sure.
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