A Native American tribe in Oklahoma has called for a boycott of FedEx, one of the chief sponsors of the NFL's Washington Redskins, until the team changes its name.
"Until the name of the NFL team is changed to something less inflammatory and insulting, I direct all employees to refrain from using FedEx when there is an alternative available," Osage Nation Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear wrote in a news release
Standing Bear said that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder "chooses to stick with a brand which dictionaries define as disparaging and offensive. FedEx chose to endorse that brand through their sponsorship of Mr. Snyder's organization."
Sports Illustrated reported
that FedEx paid $207 million for naming rights to the team's stadium in 1999, and that it will remain FedEx Stadium for nearly three decades at the least.
The boycott by the Osage Nation follows on the heels of a letter sent by The National Congress of American Indians in June that urged FedEx to support efforts to get the name changed.
It also follows the cancellation of six federal trademark registrations for the football team by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this summer, who ruled on behalf of five Native Americans, including lead petitioner Amanda Blackhorse, that the name was "disparaging to Native Americans."
A 2004 poll found that 90 percent of Native Americans were not offended by the team's name, however more recent polling on attitudes towards the team's name have not been conducted. A 2013 AP-GfK poll showed that 79 percent of Americans of all ethnicities opposed changing the name.
In an interview on Newsmax TV earlier this month, a member of the Osage Nation, Ryan Red Corn, co-owner of the communications firm Buffalo Nickel Creative, said that Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was an "idiot" for clinging to the team's name.
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