Native American advocates ‘disappointed’ after meeting with NFL over D.C. team

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 20:39 EDT
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Washington Redskins [Keith Allison via Flickr Creative Commons] http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/7687632498/
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Advocates for the Oneida Indian Nation vowed to continue their efforts to get Washington D.C.’s NFL team to change its name following a meeting with the National Football League on Wednesday, ESPN reported.

“We are very disappointed,” Oneida spokesperson Joel Barkin told ESPN. “This is the beginning of a process. It’s clear that they don’t see how this is not a unifying term. They don’t have a complete appreciation for the breadth of opposition of Native Americans to this mascot and name.”

Tribal representative Ray Halbritter reportedly gave NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a 30-page report (PDF) commissioned by Oneida leaders that argues that the team’s continued use of the name “Redskins,” which they have described as a slur, aids prejudice against Native American communities.

“With the help of the National Football League’s $9-billion-a-year marketing machine, this behavior not only exposes Native Americans to a harmful stereotype, but also implicitly condones the use of this term by non-Native Americans, which if performed on an impersonal level would possibly constitute harassment or bullying,” the study states.

The team’s owner, Dan Snyder, has refused the calls for a name change, saying in an October 2013 statement that he hoped critics “try to respect what the name means, not only for all of us in the extended Washington Redskins family, but among Native Americans too.” Snyder was not present at Wednesday’s meeting, but reportedly held on to his stance during a separate meeting with Goodell on Tuesday.

Halbritter also asked Goodell to distribute the report among league executives, as well as a two-page letter (PDF) asking he take action against Snyder through a clause in league bylaws allowing him to sanction owners found “guilty of conduct detrimental to the welfare of the League or professional football.” The letter also called for Oneida leaders to meet with NFL team heads during Super Bowl week, and for Goodell and executives to meet with tribal represetatives on Native American territory.

[Image by Keith Allison via Flickr Creative Commons]

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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