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Indian tribe turns up pressure on NFL team to dump Redskins nickname

September 05, 2013|By Sam Farmer
  • Redskins owner Dan Snyder has vowed to never change the nickname. The Oneida Indian Nation says the team name is offensive.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has vowed to never change the nickname. The Oneida…

The Oneida Indian Nation is taking to the airwaves to pressure the Washington Redskins to dump their nickname.

The tribe, based in Central New York, announced Thursday it will launch an advertising campaign to urge the NFL franchise to shed a nickname frequently deemed offensive.

The first ads will air on sports radio in Washington, D.C. in advance of the team’s season-opening game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The ads will ask NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to “do the right thing” and back the campaign.

“As a proud sponsor of the NFL, we are concerned that the NFL's continued use of such an offensive term is undermining its position as a unifying force in America,” Oneida Nation representative Ray Halbritter said in a news release. “America is a society that values mutual respect. Using a slur and making a mascot out of our indigenous culture has no place in such a society. 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.”

In June, Goodell wrote a letter to 10 members of Congress and defended the nickname.

“The Washington Redskins name has thus from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context,” he wrote in the letter. “For the team's millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America's most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has vowed never to change the name.

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