UN Human Rights Council to Plunge into NFL 'Redskins' Controversy

The United Nations organization charged with the mandate “to promote and protect all human rights” is sticking its nose into the controversy over the name of the Washington, D.C. NFL franchise.


Representatives from the UN Human Rights Council will meet with representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation to discuss the tribes’ campaign to get the Redskins to change their name.


The brewing controversy over the name of Washington’s pro football team is now a matter before the United Nations. Leaders from the Oneida Indian Nation, a tribe that has waged a season-long campaign against the team’s name, are meeting today with Ivan Šimonovic, the assistant secretary-general for human rights, at the UN’s headquarters in New York.

The UN has no jursidiction over the NFL, of course, but its Human Rights Council has gotten involved in trying to fix racism in sports, including FIFA and other soccer organizations. “This particular case could be of interest to a number of UN human rights mechanisms,” a spokesperson for the Human Rights Council told USA Today.

Since last September, the Oneidas have sponsored advertisements calling on the Redskins to drop their name, which is defined by most dictionaries as derogatory, staged rallies outside NFL games, and held meetings with high-ranking NFL executives, though not Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The name has also been panned by a wide of critics from President Obama, who has said he would think about changing the name if he owned the team, to Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who said the team “probably should” get a less-offensive nickname. (Hall, who negotiating a new contract, later walked back that statement.)

“This issue is not going away until the offensive name is retired,” Ray Halbritter, an Oneida representative who is meeting with the UN, said in a press release. But even if the UN agrees that Washington’s NFL club should change its name, the decision to do so still rests with Dan Snyder, who has not been swayed so far.


The body count in Syria is over 100,000, Iran executes homosexuals, Russia makes it a virtual crime to be openly gay — and the UN Human Rights Council wants to make an issue of the name of a pro sport franchise?

So who is Ivan Šimonovic, the UN’s assistant secretary general for human rights? He was justice minister of the Croatian government during a time of massive human rights abuses. Šimonovic swears he had nothing to do with the atrocities, but others have a different idea:

Simonovic’ s diplomatic career began as the modern Croatian nation was forged during the traumatic breakup of the former Yugoslavia — an era defined by civil war, moral compromise and ethnic cleansing. His association with the government of the late Franjo Tudjman, which engaged in massive human rights violations during the war, has raised concerns among human rights advocates about his commitment to human rights. More recently, Amnesty International released a report criticizing the Croatian justice system’s handling of war crimes investigations, saying it is biased against Serbs and noting that few Croatian military officers are prosecuted for their role in war-time atrocities.

So, yeah — we’re going to let this jamoke judge the controversy swirling around the name of the Washington NFL franchise.

And what about the “Human Rights Council” itself? Here are some upstanding members of the Council:


Viet Nam

Those are the worst of the lot, with plenty of other nations differing in the savagery of their oppression only by the body count.

Eventually, the issue will resolve itself. Right now, about 70% majorities don’t think the Redskins should change their name. But democracy means squat to the UN — especially the human rights crowd, who always seem to find someone or some group in the west to criticize but can never quite get around to looking in a mirror and ending their own hypocrisy.


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