With the NFL season set to kick off tonight, Native American advocacy groups have ramped up their campaign against the racist name of the Washington football team. Their latest target? One of the [Redacted]'s biggest corporate sponsors, FedEx.
In an ad commissioned by the Native Voice Network called "FedEx Fail," a would-be FedEx customer is turned away when trying to ship a variety of items while wearing several different offensive costumes. But when he returns in [Redacted] gear and a cheap headdress, things change. "You are in luck," the Native American clerk tells the customer. "We at FedEx are Washington Redskins corporate sponsors! We embrace this sort of racism!"
Indian Country Today Media Network, which first posted the video, spoke to the campaign's organizers:
"The point of the campaign is to build awareness that the Washington team name is racist," said Laura Harris, executive director of Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO). AIO is the main organizer of NVN. "FedEx has a great diversity statement for their employees and corporation," she said. "We think it's hypocritical of them to support an NFL team that uses a racist name when their diversity statement explicitly states they are against racism…Their sponsorship is not appropriate and not in line with their corporate policy."
Notably, when colleague Matt Connolly and I contacted FedEx back in November about the name controversy, here's what a company spokesperson had to say:
We understand that there is a difference of opinion on this issue. Nevertheless, we believe that our sponsorship of FedEx Field continues to be in the best interests of FedEx and its stockholders.
Washington's football team, which plays its home games at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, opens its season Sunday afternoon on the road against the Houston Texans.