Oneida Indian Nation Launching Radio Ad Against Redskins
New York: The Oneida Indian Nation has launched a radio ad campaign to pressure the Washington Redskins to change their team name.
The first ad ran on Washington radio stations before the team's opener with Philadelphia Eagles. In the ad, Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should “stand up to bigotry” by denouncing “the racial slur” in the team’s name.
“We do not deserve to be called redskins,” the Oneida leader says in the ad. “We deserve to be treated as what we are — Americans.
The radio ad mentioned that Goodell had been rightly critical of an Eagles player who made a racial slur against African-Americans this summer.
The ads launch as the Washington Redskins face a fresh barrage of criticism over their nickname. Local leaders and pundits are calling for a name change. In May, 10 members of Congress sent letters to Goodell and Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, urging the team to change the name.
“Native Americans throughout the country consider the ‘R-word’ a racial, derogatory slur akin to the ‘N-word’ among African Americans or the ‘W-word’ among Latinos,” the U.S. representatives told Snyder in the letter.
Snyder has vowed to never change the name.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said they “respect that reasonable people may have differing views. The name from its origin has always intended to be positive and has always been used by the team in a highly respectful manner.”
There was no immediate response from the Redskins.
“I don’t know if there is any way you can change Redskins,” said Green Bay Packers CEO, Mark Murphy. “The owner, Dan Snyder, has come out very strong that he will never change the name. But I am sensitive. It’s a name that’s very derogatory to a lot of people.”
The Oneidas have been vocal opponents of the Redskins nickname — be it for NFL or high school teams. The tribe gave an area high school $10,000 for new jerseys after the school changed its nickname from Redskins to Hawkeyes.
The Oneida's ads will run in Washington during home games and in the host cities during away games.
Halbritter said that fans are being urged to lobby the NFL in support of the name change at a soon-to-debut website.
“We believe that with the help of our fellow professional football fans, we can get the NFL to realize the error of its ways and make a very simple change,” Halbritter said.
The ads are available at: http://www.changethemascot.org/
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