The Native American Rights Fund, a nonprofit law firm, has ended its service with the courier delivery company FedEx due to its sponsorship of the Washington football team, the organization announced Friday.
In a letter to FedEx, NARF Executive Director John E. Echohawk called the name of the team a “racial slur masquerading as a team name” and accused the Dallas, Texas-based company of contributing to the defamation of Native Americans.
“We have officially moved to replace FedEx with another carrier as we can no longer justify using our funds to help FedEx perpetuate this racial stereotype,” Echohawk wrote.
The Washington football team, which plays at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, has been for decades mired in controversy over its use of the team name – a word that is defined in the dictionary as a racial slur.
On Friday, ICTMN contacted FedEx seeking a response to NARF’s letter. Connie Avery of the company’s media relations department said she had yet to read the missive. But by Monday, ICTMN had not heard back from Avery. After a follow-up email inquiring about a comment, Avery responded, “I am not going to be able to meet your deadline.”
Amanda Blackhorse, Diné, is the lead the plaintiff in a case that, a year ago this month, stripped the team of six of its seven trademarks. Blackhorse lauded NARF for its decision and said she hopes other organizations will take similar action.
“NARF is prominent in our community, and I hope others will follow suit,” she said. “More and more people need to take those steps in pulling away from sponsors, because that’s what drives all of this – it’s money.”
Last year, team owner Dan Snyder told Comcast SportsNet he is in the process of designing a new field, which he hopes to build in Washington, D.C.
But Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser agrees the Washington football team should change its name. "It's offensive to many people," she said during a press conference last month, Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post reported.