FedEx Distance Themselves from Redskins Debate after Trademark Ruling

By iSportconnect | June 20, 2014

One of the main sponsors of the National Football League’s (NFL) Washington Redskins, FedEx, has distanced themselves from the debate over the team’s name, after a trademark ruling found the name to be “disparaging” to Native Americans.

FedEx are the title sponsors of the Redskins’ Stadium and their President, Fred Smith, is a member of the ownership group behind the franchise.

However, senior officials of FedEx are staying neutral in the debate, with Patrick Fitzgerald, FedEx’s Senior Vice President of Marketing commenting “It’s not our place to have a position on the name.”

In a recent interview, Fitzgerald refused to use the word Redskins, and instead described them as “the Washington NFL team.”

He did however say that it was not a reflection of FedEx’s company policy and Smith did use the name Redskins in an interview with CNBC.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Washington Football Inc. (the Redskins’ parent company). The Redskins play at FedEx Field,” Smith told CNBC. “But there are many, many other events there: the Rolling Stones, Notre Dame, and Army and Navy football, Kenny Chesney. That’s our sponsorship – and we really don’t have any dog in this issue from the standpoint of FedEx.”

The US Patent and Trademark Office ruled this week that the Redskins name was disparaging to Native Americans and decided that the team would be stripped of federal trademark protection.