“It’s a permanent movement now,” states Ray Halbritter, a representative from the Oneida Indian Nation, referring to the Change the Mascot campaign, a national effort to “end the use of the racial slur ‘redskins’ as the mascot and name of the NFL team in Washington, D.C.”
Nonetheless, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defended the use of the R-word last Friday in the State of the NFL press conference in New York City, claiming the offensive racist term “honors” Native Americans.
Oneida Indian Nation issued a press release responding to Commissioner Goodell’s remarks defending the racist name of Washington’s team.
Press Release (pdf)
ONEIDA NATION HOMELANDS (NY) (January 31, 2014)
The Oneida Indian Nation and its Change the Mascot campaign responded to the remarks made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in the news conference following his State of the NFL address Friday in New York City. Goodell defended the Washington team’s usage of the racially insensitive R-word slur as its name and mascot. Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter has issued the following statement in response to Goodell’s remarks.
“It is deeply troubling that with the Super Bowl happening on lands that were once home to Native Americans, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would use the event as a platform to insist that the dictionary-defined R-word racial slur against Native Americans is somehow a sign of honor.”
“Commissioner Goodell represents a $9-billion brand with global reach, yet insists that it is somehow no big deal that his league uses those vast resources to promote this slur. In the process, he conveniently ignores all the social science research showing that the NFL’s promotion of this word has serious cultural and psychological effects on native peoples. Worse, he cites the heritage of the team’s name without mentioning that the name was given to the team by one of America’s most famous segregationists, George Preston Marshall. He also somehow oesn’t mention the heritage of the R-word itself, which was as an epithet screamed at Native Americans as they were forced at gunpoint off their lands.”
“The fact that Mr. Goodell doesn’t seem to know any of this – or is deliberately ignoring it – suggests that for all his claims to be listening, he isn’t listening at all.”
It’s way past the time shared recognition of the horrific genocide against Native Americans carried out during the colonization of this land be universal. The usage of this deeply offensive racist term is steeped in grotesque denial. A denial that offends me as an American but more importantly as a human being, as a member of the human race. The mere idea that using this racial slur “honors” anyone is abhorrent.
For more information check out Oneida Indian Nation’s Change the Mascot, including their press page; a recent report by Think Progress The Epic Battle To Save The Most Offensive Team Name In Professional Sports; Democracy Now Top GOP Advisers Helped Redskins Football Team with Bid to Keep Name , and finally this fantastic report from last November Pressure Grows for NFL Team to Drop Redskins Name and Logo as Thousands Protest from Democracy Now: