Native groups have protesting Washington NFL team’s name this fall
WASHINGTON – On Thursday, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition with some 200 diverse civil and rights groups, voted unanimously passed a resolution urging the owner of the Washington NFL team, Dan Synder, to change the team’s offensive name.
The resolution notes that using this slur as the team’s name “cannot in any reasonable way be viewed as honoring the culture or historical legacy of any particular Native American tribe or individual.”
The coalition called upon the team to “to change its team name, and to refrain from the use of any other images, mascots, or behaviors that are or could be deemed harmful or demeaning to Native American cultures or peoples.”
The Leadership Conference has played a key role in passing every major civil rights law since 1957. Approval of the resolution took place at The Leadership Conference’s annual meeting. Members of The Leadership Conference include the NAACP, National Council of La Raza, American Association of People with Disabilities, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the ACLU, National Urban League, National Organization for Women, Human Rights Campaign, the Anti-Defamation League, the AFL-CIO, and many others.
Jacqueline Pata Johnson, Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians
“By recognizing the ongoing disparagement of American Indian and Alaska Natives and asking the NFL to change the name of the D.C. franchise, The Leadership Conference reconfirms its commitment to fighting for equal rights for Native peoples. Passing this resolution at their annual meeting further proves that The Leadership Conference is fully behind this work and NCAI is proud and happy to have them on our team,” commented Jacqueline Johnson Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and a vice-chair of The Leadership Conference.
“This is not someone else’s problem, this is everyone’s problem. Having an offensive slur for the Washington team name teaches young people to celebrate the denigration of people for being who they are. That has a damaging psychic impact on individuals, as well as on the entire nation,” commented Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Changing the name is the right thing do, regardless of how comfortable fans have become with it. And when Mr. Snyder does decide to put the slur away, I think he’ll discover a new market of consumers who recognize the dignity of all people and want to honor that with the sports teams they support.”