“We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
This is the reply Forbes billionaire Dan Snyder gave in May 2013 to USA Today when he was questioned over his decision to keep Washington Redskins as the name for his football team, even though it’s considered derogatory to Native Americans.
After a year of controversies and debates surrounding the National Football League (NFL) team’s name and mascot, the pressure on its owner to give in is – finally – mounting.
On Tuesday, during the NBA Finals, apart from other commercials, sports fans got to see a powerful minute-long anti-Redskins advertisement.
Created by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the spot (below) was sponsored by a northern California tribe called Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. It is to be aired in seven major U.S. cities, calling on Snyder to change its “racist” name and mascot.
In addition, another Native American organization, Change the Mascot, in association with the NCAI, is campaigning to change the name of the Redskins through a photo project called #ProudToBe.
It encourages Native people to send in pictures of themselves holding signs inscribed with whatever it is they are proud to be.
The message of the campaign is loud and clear: it’s in no way acceptable to use a racial epithet – or a slur – as the name of a professional football team.
“Change the Mascot is a national campaign to end the use of the racial slur “redskins” as the mascot and name of the NFL team in Washington, D.C. Launched by the Oneida Indian Nation, the campaign calls upon the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell to do the right thing and bring an end the use of the racial epithet.”
Non-Native Americans can also join in.