CORRECTION: The original version of this article incorrectly represented Scott Shepard as a “business journalist.” He represents the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative group that is a shareholder in FedEx.
(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) FedEx CEO Frederick Smith mocked a shareholder who questioned the company’s advocacy for changing the name of the Washington Redskins—a goal that puts the wishes of leftist activists ahead of Native Americans.
Scott Shepard, deputy director of the Free Enterprise Project, asked Smith and Executive Vice President Brie Carere if they would set aside their far-left social justice agenda and instead pursue their business interests.
“Respond to this question, if that’s what you can call it,” Smith said to Carere, laughing.
Carere then read a scripted response that showed the company’s dedication to critical race theory.
“We always evaluate all marketing sponsorships through our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” he said.
“We appreciate very much the Washington Football Team’s decision to change its name and its logo,” he continued, “and please remember that it was the team’s decision.”
Shepard’s question included relevant information about FedEx’s social-justice lobbying.
“[FedEx] pushed the Washington Redskins to change their name, even though according to a Washington Post poll, 9 in 10 Native Americans aren’t offended by the Redskins name; it’s hardly a disparaging connotation,” Shepard said.
“By its bumbling, FedEx significantly decreased Native American representation in civic life for the sole benefit of the smug self-regard of ill-informed leftwing activists,” he said.
FedEx owns the naming rights for FedExField, the stadium of the Washington Redskins. The company has signed a contract for $8 million per year through 2025.
Smith also owns part of the Redskins.
FedEx formally requested that the team change its name in July 2020.
Major corporations, like Nike and Pepsi, also threatened to harm the team unless its name was changed.
The decision to change the name was not the result of a grassroots movement.
“Smug, elitist interlopers, who care only about their exquisite sensibilities—largely feigned for the purposes of virtue signaling—don’t give a fig about the real convictions and concerns of the groups whom they pretend to represent,” Shepard said.