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Major investors demand brands break partnerships if Redskins name doesn’t change

Dan Snyder, Redskins

The Washington Redskins are under more pressure to change the team name.

A group consisting of 87 investment firms and shareholders reportedly wrote a letter to Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo, asking all three companies to terminate their partnerships with the team if the name is not changed (via Mary Emily O’Hara of AdWeek):

On Friday, three separate letters signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion asked Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to terminate their business relationships with the NFL’s Washington Redskins unless the team agrees to change its controversial name.

The name is a racist slur alluding to the literal skinning of Native Americans. Despite the history of the term, however, owner Dan Snyder has insisted the team will not change its name.

But a coalition is building, including within NFL ranks. Hall of Fame head coach and NBC analyst Tony Dungy said the name should be changed, claiming the historical context of the name should not take precedence over the contemporary meaning.

Washington did erase former owner George Preston Marshall‘s relation to the franchise. Marshall was the last NFL owner to integrate his franchise and was also the one who decided to name the team the Redskins.

Yet, the name change still appears to be a sticking point. Head coach Ron Rivera said Tuesday said it would be a “discussion for another time.” Granted, Rivera was only just hired by Washington and is likely feeling guarded against potential discipline from the mercurial Snyder.

Perhaps these investors and corporations can help to facilitate change, though it remains to be seen whether Snyder is willing to walk back past comments.