Native groups have protesting Washington NFL team’s name this fall
WASHINGTON — The Washington Post on Sunday reported Washington NFL team-owner Daniel Snyder has made secret trips to America’s southwest to visit American Indian tribes to persuade tribal officials to come to his defense in the team retaining R-word for the team’s name.
To most American Indians the R-word is comparably offensive as the N-word is to most African Americans.
The continued usage of the R-word has come under attack from American Indian organizations, other civil rights groups, members of Congress and even President Obama.
Team insiders suggest that the trips will result in the team paying off cooperative American Indians, and even entering into sympathy contracts – e.g. selling popcorn from a tribe at games. The trips, by the way, were arranged by a lobbyist, and were described as “odd” by at least one tribal leader.
“Fortunately, using his vast wealth to try to buy friends for the team’s name is likely to backfire,” says George Washington University Law Professor John F. Banzhaf.
A former R-word vice president of public relations admits that Snyder is in a difficult position. He says that using money to woo Indians would not help much, and could be “misinterpreted as a payoff.”
Snyder came under attack last month when he brought in Navajo Code Talkers to “honor” them at a recent game. He was accused of using the Code Talkers as “props” to push his agenda. One Navajo Nation Councilman condemned what he called team officials’ “antics to use our beloved and cherished Navajo heroes as pawns in their public relations battle to perpetuate this indignity and ignorance.”
“N*gger, W*tback, Ch*ink, W*p, J*p, etc. are racist insulting words, even though many of each ethic persuasion may not object, or feel that their people face more important issues,” argues Banzhaf.