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Major Retailers Pull Washington Redskins Merchandise

An employee passes Washington Redskins football shirts for sale at a sporting goods store in Bailey’s Crossroads, Va., June 24, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Walmart, Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Nike have halted the sale of Washington Redskins merchandise as the team undergoes an evaluation of its name, bowing to corporate pressure.

The stores had pulled items including Redskins shirts, hats, and other memorabilia as of Monday. 

Walmart announced Friday that it would be “discontinuing the sale of items that reference the team’s name and logo,” on Twitter, referring to the Redskins as “the Washington team.”

The decision followed the team’s announcement that it would review its name after FedEx, the sponsor of the team’s stadium in Landover, Md., formally requested that the team change its name the day before.

Investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion called on Fedex, Nike, and PepsiCo to sever relationships with the Redskins unless the team changed its name, USA Today reported.

An investor letter to FedEx said “Redskins” is a “de-humanizing word characterizing people by skin color and a racial slur with hateful connotations,” adding that “virtually every major national American Indian organization has denounced use of Indian and Native related images, names and symbols disparaging or offending American Indian peoples, with over 2,000 academic institutions eliminating ‘Indian’ sports references.”

The team’s primary owner, Dan Snyder, has long defended the name, which the team has used since the 1930s.

The Redskins are the latest target of a racial reckoning in the wake of George Floyd’s death that has caused PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats to retire its Aunt Jemima packaging on pancake mix and syrup, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream to rename its Eskimo Pie brand, and the companies behind Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth’s, and Cream of Wheat to announce reviews of those product names.

“We have been in conversations with the NFL and Washington management for a few weeks about this issue,” PepsiCo said in a statement Friday about the Redskins. “We believe it is time for a change. We are pleased to see the steps the team announced today and we look forward to continued partnership.”

Nike said in a statement Friday that it had “been talking to the NFL and sharing our concerns regarding the name of the Washington team. We are pleased to see the team taking a first step towards change,” according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

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