A group of FedEx Corp. investors is sending to the SEC on Friday a response to a no-action request by the Memphis, Tenn.-based company regarding the investors' shareholder proposal asking the company to “respond to reputational damage from its association” with the Washington Redskins National Football League franchise.
FedEx has the naming rights to the team's stadium, FedExField, in Landover, Md., through 2026.
The proposal was filed in April by the Oneida Trust of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, with Mercy Investment Services and Calvert Investments serving as co-filers, and support and assistance from Boston Common Asset Management, Trillium Asset Management and Walden Asset Management.
FedEx had submitted the no-action request — to be excluded from the proxy materials at the company's next annual meeting in September — with the SEC shortly after the filing, said Jonas D. Kron, senior vice president, director of shareholder advocacy at Trillium Asset Management, in a Trillium news release Thursday.
The presentation by the filers comes after significant publicity regarding the suitability of the team's name. This week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team's trademarks, citing the team name as disparaging to Native Americans.
“As times change, so must our language. Given the historic and present connotations of the name, turning real people into caricatures and mascots or insulting a portion of our population with an offensive name is no longer acceptable in this day and age,” said Reed Montague, sustainability analyst at Calvert Investments, in the news release. “We strongly encourage FedEx to address and examine its role in perpetuating and supporting such stereotypes.”
Patrick Fitzgerald, FedEx spokesman, said the company would not provide any comment on the proposal.