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Proponents of Redskins Name Change Call Moniker a ‘Public Health Issue’

“The easiest way to dismiss the use of the Washington Redskins name is to discuss it as a victimless crime," advocate says at event meant to pressure NFL.

Rodrigo Sermeño


October 9, 2013 - 3:57 pm
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WASHINGTON – Members of New York’s Oneida Indian Nation held a symposium Monday to increase pressure on the Washington Redskins NFL franchise to change its name, decrying the moniker is an offensive “racial epithet.”

Native American experts, members of Congress, and activists joined a panel to talk about the negative effects of the team’s name. The Oneida Nation held the event at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C., the same location where the NFL owners were scheduled to hold their annual fall meeting this week.

The group launched radio ads and the “Change the Mascot” campaign in September to raise awareness about the movement against the franchise’s name. The effort got an even bigger boost over the weekend when President Obama spoke for the first time about the issue.

“If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team – even if it had a storied history – that was offending a sizeable group of people, I’d think about changing it,” Obama said in an interview published by the Associated Press on Saturday.

“It certainly has brought a lot of attention, the first sitting president to speak on this issue,” Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter said at the event. “I think it’s historic. And the more people know about this issue, the more they’ll realize it is not just a laughable issue. It’s a real issue that causes real harm.”

Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, noted that the NFL has continued using the name despite its use as a pejorative throughout American history.

“This word is an insult that is mean, rude and impolite, and we would like you to stop using it just as children stop using something that is impolite,” Gover said. “The 1920s, when these names emerged in sport, were a low point in Native American history. Our people were confined to reservations and this was another way to assert dominance. It was a way to say, ‘We own you’ and ‘We can use your image how we choose’.”

The Washington Redskins have used their name for 80 years, and the team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, has steadfastly refused to change the team’s name, telling USA Today in May: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER – you can use caps.”

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) expressed her sympathy with fans who are attached to the name, but said it was time to move on.

“As an African-American woman and third-generation Washingtonian, I want to say to Redskins fans: no one blames you for using a name that has always been used but they will blame you if you continue to use it with impunity,” she said.

Holmes Norton said that FedEx and other team sponsors should put pressure on Snyder to change the name.

“Native Americans are not mascots or caricatures to be exploited for profit,” said Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. “There is no dignity or respect for exploitation.”

McCollum and others who spoke at the symposium refuted polls cited by the Redskins that show the public and Native Americans are not offended by the nickname.

“The hired PR folks, who are now defending Mr. Snyder’s football team, are citing outdated polls and data,” she said.

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Top Rated Comments   
“He (Dr. Friedman) said Native Americans should not have to deal with issues affecting their self-esteem when they already have a level of psychological distress higher than any other group in the nation. The Native American population has twice as much depression, alcoholism, and other physical and mental issues, he said.”

No kiddin’. I wonder if it ever occurred to the good doctor that that is exactly where you end up once you become addicted to dependency and a ward of the government?

Friedman goes on to state that “When you consider that public health context, any kind of stressor that causes more suffering has to be considered not a political correctness issue but a public health issue ….”.

Great! By that definition Barack Hussein Obama has just been identified as a “public health issue”. Where can I seek treatment and immunization?

49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (33)
All Comments   (33)
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After being indoctrinated with PCness when I lived outside the District of Columbia, moved to Arizona and lived among many Indian tribes. They CALL THERMSELVES INDIANS. This whole situation has been elevated to somethi9ng of great importancel It isn't.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
as Debbie said I'm impressed that someone able to get paid $4020 in four weeks on the internet.. .......:>WWW.JOBS60.ℂOM
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
my buddy's half-sister makes $60/hr on the laptop. She has been unemployed for nine months but last month her income was $17092 just working on the laptop for a few hours. moved here------> WWW.Rush64.COM
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
They should keep their name but change their emblem. I LOVE REDSKINS. Roasted in a little olive oil, or boiled to make a salad. They beat spuds and russets hands down. Just put that little red potato on the side of their helmets.

Thank goodness they're not, "The Syphilitic Conquistadors". THAT's a tough name to live with .
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why not call them "The Washington Native American Savages"?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Snyder should keep the Redskins name. The Oneida tribes should get something that would really cause them to be enraged. Cut off their government subsidies. The Redskins have been a tradition in the District of Columbia for many years. Obama is a temporary resident; he should stay out of it.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
and then there were the liberals saying that even if one person is offended, that one should consider changing the name.

Can we take that to the extreme. If one person is offended by a violent video game, remove it.

If one person is offended by sexy cheerleaders, remove them

If one person is offended by ticket prices, reduce them.

if one person is offended by anything fix and change it.

And what then do we do for the people that are offended by the one person that gets the attention while the huge majority are told to shut up and take it because one person is offended.

Time to stop this nonsense. You have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, no mention that you get to live without being offended by something.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Where's the payday? And, for whom?
Whenever the leftists start one of these witch hunts, it is always helpful to see who is going to make the big bucks. Any racial dispute, for example, that attracts Jackson, Sharpton, etc., means money/publicity, etc.
Here, I don't see who gets the bucks. Anyone?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
This was beaten to death in the late 80's and early 90's. Comic Dennis Miller had a bit where he discussed the get-together of 'native americans' outside of the stadium on game day, protesting and chanting, when it began to rain...
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dan Snyder did a good job with a letter in the Washington Post to the fans refuting the issue:

"As some of you may know, our team began 81 years ago -- in 1932 -- with the name “Boston Braves.” The following year, the franchise name was changed to the “Boston Redskins.” On that inaugural Redskins team, four players and our Head Coach were Native Americans. The name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor.

In 1971, our legendary coach, the late George Allen, consulted with the Red Cloud Athletic Fund located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and designed our emblem on the Redskins helmets. Several years later, Coach Allen was honored by the Red Cloud Athletic Fund. On the wall at our Ashburn, Virginia, offices is the plaque given to Coach Allen -- a source of pride for all of us. “Washington Redskins is more than a name we have called our football team for over eight decades. It is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect -- the same values we know guide Native Americans and which are embedded throughout their rich history as the original Americans.

I’ve listened carefully to the commentary and perspectives on all sides, and I respect the feelings of those who are offended by the team name. But I hope such individuals also try to respect what the name means, not only for all of us in the extended Washington Redskins family, but among Native Americans too."
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
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