Report: Investors Urge Nike, FedEx, PepsiCo to End Relationship with Washington Football Team

Investors worth a combined $620 billion have urged several key sponsors to end their relationship with Washington’s football team unless its name is changed.

Investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion asked team sponsors Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to end their relationship with Washington’s football team over its “Redskins” name, according to Mary Emily O’Hara of Adweek.

Per O’Hara’s report, the brands each received a letter signed by 87 investors urging them to cut ties unless the team’s controversial name was changed. The topic has gained momentum in recent weeks in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, and the worldwide protests that followed.

On June 24, Washington removed a marble monument of team founder George Preston Marshall, who opposed integrating the team. Marshall was the last owner in the league to integrate his team.

The investment groups appealed to PepsiCo after the brand removed the Aunt Jemima image from its syrup. They also praised Nike for its relationship with Colin Kaepernick, but pointed out Nike’s role in providing uniforms and equipment to Washington.

None of the brands, nor the team, responded to Adweek’s request for comment.

On Wednesday, John Falcicchio, deputy mayor of Washington, D.C., said there was no scenario in which Washington team owner Dan Snyder would be allowed to build a new stadium on the federally owned RFK Stadium site unless he changes the team’s name.

“There is no viable path, locally or federally, for the Washington football team to return to Washington, D.C., without first changing the team name,” Falcicchio said, according to Liz Clarke of The Washington Post.

Added Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting delegate to the House of Representatives: “I call on Dan Snyder once again to face that reality, since he does still desperately want to be in the nation’s capital. He has got a problem he can’t get around—and he particularly can’t get around it today, after the George Floyd killing.”

Washington currently plays at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Its lease on the land the stadium resides is set to expire after the 2027 season.

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Author: Nick Selbe

Report: NFL Considers Requiring Fans to Sign COVID-19 Liability Waivers to Attend Games

The NFL is reportedly considering making fans sign liability waivers to protect teams from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

As COVID-19 cases spike among pro and college athletes nationwide, the NFL is considering making fans who attend games this season sign liability waivers protecting teams from coronavirus-related lawsuits, according to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic.

The proposal is likely to be sent to teams next week, along with an array of other best practices for re-opening stadiums during the pandemic. An anonymous source familiar with the league’s plans told Kaplan the forms would likely be electronic.

How ironclad the waivers would be in protecting teams from potential legal action is up for debate. Attorney Bob Hilliard, who’s sued MLB on behalf of fans hit by foul balls and spoke to Kaplan on the matter, questions how ironclad the waivers would end up being in court.

“Strange things about waivers…they are fragile — often easily breakable,” Hilliard said. “Especially, as I assume here, when you are asking fans to waive their rights even if the NFL is negligen(t), grossly negligent, etc. Comes down to proportionate power — and the NFL has a high hurdle to claim that a fan has an actual choice.

“Let’s say a fan and his family go to a game,” he continued. “The team/NFL allows, by poor processes, that fan and his family to be exposed to Corona and everyone dies. The waiver defense will either be a question of law for the judge, or a question of fact for the jury, depending on the jurisdiction and the particular facts. I’d take the case.”

Kaplan also spoke to Irwin Kishner of New York law firm Herrick Feinstein, which represents team owners. Kishner acknowledged the problematic nature of waivers, yet does not view them as flimsy as Hilliard does.

“Waivers are governed by state law and speaking very generally and in over broad terms, are typically unenforceable depending on circumstances,” he said. “Fans attending games, though, are assuming a level of risk by entering a stadium.”

Other precautions expected to be recommended to the league include prohibiting cash payments at stadiums, only prepackaged food allowed at concession stands and a requirement for fans to wear masks. These recommendations will be made by the stadium reopening working group, which is led by NFL Senior VP of Security Cathy Lanier. Teams will likely make it a policy for masks to be worn even if they are in jurisdictions that don’t already require mask-wearing in public.

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Author: Nick Selbe