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SEC blocks FedEx shareholder vote on naming-rights deal

FedEx Getty Images

As the opposition to the name of the Washington NFL franchise continues, the federal government has blocked an effort to cancel the naming-rights deal at the stadium where the team plays.

Via Mark Holan of the Washington Business Journal, the Securities and Exchange Commission has concluded that FedEx is not required to permit shareholder discussion and vote on the question of whether the company is suffering “reputational damage from its association with the Washington, D.C., NFL franchise.”  The SEC ruled that the issue falls within the “ordinary business” of the company, making it beyond the scope of shareholder approval or action.

The request for consideration of the issue came from, among others, The Oneida Trust of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Calvert Investments, Boston Common Asset Management, Walden Asset Management, and Trillium Asset Management.

“We regret that FedEx is censoring our effort to promote an open and productive discussion amongst FedEx shareholders on this critically important issue,” Brandon Stevens of the Oneida Tribe told Holan via email.  “It’s not too late for FedEx and CEO Fred Smith to do the right thing.  They should demonstrate their commitment to diversity and respect for Native American culture and tradition by taking a stand against this racist team name and at the very least allow the proposal to move forward.”

Stevens added that “this issue is not going away,” and that action will be taken from the floor of the shareholder meeting in September.

FedEx CEO Fred Smith, who also owns a minority share of the team, previously has declined to disclose his personal views as to whether the name of the team should change.  His own views likely don’t matter in this specific instance.  FedEx has purchased the naming rights for the stadium well into the future.  It’s unlikely that owner Daniel Snyder would ever agree to let the company walk away from the deal — unless, of course, another company would be willing to pay more to take the place of FedEx.

It remains to be seen whether any effort to boycott or otherwise pressure FedEx takes root as football season approaches.  While it’s a given that ongoing efforts will be directed at the team and the league, the movement could soon result in more direct challenges to those who do business with the franchise, including the 31 other owners who partially share in the revenues generated by merchandise bearing the team’s name.

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32 Responses to “SEC blocks FedEx shareholder vote on naming-rights deal”
  1. veence69 says: Jul 16, 2014 7:56 AM

    We’ve been using segregated water fountains for DECADES and NOW all of the sudden it’s a problem? I’m sick of the PC police telling me that I need to evolve..

  2. bij01 says: Jul 16, 2014 8:03 AM

    Have a gripe with FedEx service? Too bad! They don’t wanna hear it. In fact, they don’t take complaints, just new business!

  3. GettingNoRespect says: Jul 16, 2014 8:11 AM

    Since the majority prefer the name remain the same, let’s boycott any company that chooses to cut ties with the Redskins.

  4. goodellisruiningtheleague says: Jul 16, 2014 8:15 AM

    Thanks for the update

  5. sylvester000001 says: Jul 16, 2014 8:23 AM

    “It remains to be seen whether any effort to boycott or otherwise pressure FedEx takes root as football season approaches.”

    Will not happen, because a boycott attempt would be absolutely psycho.

    And quite frankly would backfire once word got around outside the sports world if were to initially be successful. People do not support bullying. In fact the public at large is sick and tired and fed up with political bullying that has no sound basis. And the spastic of our society do not understand boycotts are most often used as an attempt at bullying. You want to lose this issue? Call for a boycott.

    You know what calls for boycotts are in all honesty? Desperate attempts from those on the logically incorrect side of an issue. When one calls for boycotts, it’s admitting a loss because it’s a cliche tool of the clueless. This is what you go to when you have nothing. Boycott? Really?

    So we’ve had Harry Reid, Eric Holder used as an attempt at evidence for support and now the tired cliche of boycotts.

    If anyone were on the fence before just look at that about which side is illogical.

  6. elyasm says: Jul 16, 2014 8:45 AM

    It’s almost a shame that this won’t go to a vote because it would be amusing to see just how one-sided the result would be, with probably 80 to 90 percent supporting the name if comment votes on PFT are any indicator.

  7. johnnyjagfan says: Jul 16, 2014 8:54 AM

    Switch to UPS today!

  8. jimmyt says: Jul 16, 2014 8:55 AM

    You mean the Redskins?

  9. bigjdve says: Jul 16, 2014 9:31 AM

    I find it interesting that the libs thought this tack would work.

    What do you think would happen if they did allow that vote?

    Even if there were some that wanted to vote to remove the naming deal, how many would stay that way once they figured out how much business that Fedex would lose by being blackballed by the NFL?

    Think about it, the owners have all but stated their support for Snyder. Do you honestly think that they are going to support a company that openly ran contrary to their plans?

    There would be some other company that would love to by the rights. The stock holders enlarge should be ecstatic that the CEO won and is protecting their profits.

  10. jimmy53 says: Jul 16, 2014 9:35 AM

    getting no respect:

    Don’t let the message boards on here fool you, the statistics are pretty well split on a name change—and 82% of tribal members in the U.S. support a name change—-but you know, who cares how 82% of a minority group feels when it comes to the game of good ol’ football! They’ll never take my good ol rebel flag—I means Redskins name…

  11. nflfan22 says: Jul 16, 2014 9:42 AM

    What are we gonna do when PETA decides using animals for team names is “offensive”?

  12. bobnelsonjr says: Jul 16, 2014 10:07 AM

    There is no way that the government will allow a fair democratic vote is going to take place on this issue.

    They know not only who will win but by how much.

  13. competitivecompetitioncompeter says: Jul 16, 2014 10:45 AM

    But the drunken belligerent Irish dude is still a thing, right?

    Good, because as a drunken belligerent Irish dude, it’d be a shame if I was no longer inherently awesome enough to be a sports team’s mascot.

  14. rcali says: Jul 16, 2014 10:54 AM

    “Washington NFL Franchise”. Hysterical.

  15. daysend564 says: Jul 16, 2014 11:00 AM

    I don’t know why Snyder doesn’t just build them a casino. You’ll never hear from them again.

  16. xbam1 says: Jul 16, 2014 11:28 AM

    No Fedex for me…they are on the banned list until they dissociate their relationship with the NFL team in Washington…

  17. hugeredskinsfan says: Jul 16, 2014 11:37 AM

    elyasm says:
    Jul 16, 2014 8:45 AM
    It’s almost a shame that this won’t go to a vote because it would be amusing to see just how one-sided the result would be, with probably 80 to 90 percent supporting the name if comment votes on PFT are any indicator.

    I am totally with you. They should just poll the country somehow. If the majority of the country decides to change the name, I will support that. (It will never be a majority though)

  18. cuda1234 says: Jul 16, 2014 12:13 PM

    Don’t you mean “As the media efforts to create opposition to the name of the Washington NFL franchise continues ….”

  19. megadethgod says: Jul 16, 2014 12:39 PM

    The absolute last thing on my mind when I want to send a package is the name of a football franchise.

  20. slugbaitspace says: Jul 16, 2014 1:19 PM

    The only real reputational damage from FedEx’s association with the Washington, D.C., NFL franchise would be the condition of the field surface…

  21. swede700 says: Jul 16, 2014 1:43 PM

    I guess some posters who seem to think they are being “forced” to evolve are sending their wives back to the kitchen without shoes right now as we write.

  22. clashpoint says: Jul 16, 2014 1:47 PM

    There was a comment on one of the many other PFT articles on this topic, where someone claimed no actual Native Americans supported a name change. Actually a fairly large majority do, but that comment had around 60 to 5 in thumbs up when tribes like the Oneida speak up all the time. Tribes are actually mentioned in the PFT articles too, and it was like no one had even read the articles themselves, just commented and thumbed from ignorance. How could they all miss that so badly?

    I should make a comment shooting down every silly argument against the change but I doubt it would get read before it was thumbed down, if it was even allowed to post.

  23. drummer2177 says: Jul 16, 2014 2:21 PM

    Fed Ex could be playing both sides……Think about it…

    The Washington Federals

  24. voiceofreasonsays says: Jul 16, 2014 2:28 PM

    Move the Redskins to Virginia. It seems that Maryland is too brainwashed by the PC propaganda. Plus, it will allow them to change the real offensive part of the name: “Washington”!

  25. brgndyngold says: Jul 16, 2014 2:42 PM

    The “opposition of the name of the Washington NFL franchise continues,” by the so called “sports writer” of this article.

    We’re called the Washington REDSKINS!

    HTTR

  26. GettingNoRespect says: Jul 16, 2014 3:08 PM

    jimmy53, where are you getting that number. I think you have it backwards

  27. bobnelsonjr says: Jul 16, 2014 3:36 PM

    This Administration would not allow a vote by shareholders regarding the company’s relationship with the franchise.

    Why would they not like the results of a democratic election?

  28. clashpoint says: Jul 16, 2014 5:16 PM

    Go get your google, people. I know you have one, use it, try researching your opinion before posting it. No cherry picking the intel either, look for the bigger picture. For the record:

    Tribes on record that oppose the name and support changing it include the Cherokee, Comanche, Oneida and Seminole tribes, as well as the National Congress of American Indians, the largest intertribal organization, which represents more than 250 groups with a combined enrollment of 1.2 million. Furthermore, a recent study by the California State University, San Bernadino reports 67% of Native Americans find the Washington Redskins name and imagery racist.

    …but yeah the hillbillies commenting here say differently.

  29. defscottyb says: Jul 16, 2014 8:53 PM

    I am part Cherokee and I recently realized just how Anti-American most folks on the rez are. It’s really a separatist society they are brainwashed and born into and it’s sad to me. It’s like they live in their own separate country within the United States. Always blaming the white man for their problems. It’s like the projects for Native Americans that teaches this separatist society. In a way it’s hard to blame them when you are born into it. You don’t know any different. We are ALL Americans, even NATIVE AMERICANS. Sure, it’s cool to be proud of your Heritage but the separatist society thing is over the top imo. Thoughts?

  30. defscottyb says: Jul 17, 2014 2:25 AM

    The NFL and the Redskins are going to take care of their fans and supporters before they take care of a tiny minority of activists and politicians. FedEx isn’t going to pull out and neither will any of the sponsors because the tiny groups of Native American activists and politicians aren’t a big enough money hit to any of them via a boycott. There simply aren’t enough people in those groups to make a financial dent big enough to warrant a sponsorship pull out. Business as usual.

  31. GettingNoRespect says: Jul 17, 2014 7:22 AM

    clashpoint. Hardly a definitive piece. 98 Native Americans were selected for this study. In the previous study over 762 Native Americans were selected and an overwhelming majority accepted the use of the name. 762 trumps 98.

  32. jerseydevi1 says: Jul 18, 2014 10:32 AM

    Sorry, that should be a demeaning manner, not manor.

    Additionally the A in And there is this definition should be capitalized.

    Since I made a few mistakes in my post, I’ll also add that I am a Yankee born Dumb Redneck.

    That should cover it…thanks!

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