SBD/June 11, 2014/Franchises

Could Latest Ad Against Redskins Nickname Prove To Be Enough To Change Momentum?

California's Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation ran an anti-Redskins commercial titled "Proud to Be" in seven major markets -- N.Y., L.A., Chicago, Dallas, S.F., DC and Sacramento -- during halftime of last night's NBA Finals Game 3, and the ad "comes close" to being a "game-changer" in the team nickname debate, according to ESPN's Tony Kornheiser. The NFL was "going to wait and see if there was an economic impact before they moved, not a social impact," and in terms of social impact, this feels like a momentum changer." Kornheiser: "The rightful conclusion to this is to change the nickname, and it's a question of when it's going to happen. Little by little, incrementally, a lot of things have helped. ... This, to me, is bigger than anything else so far just because of the visual impact and the persuasiveness of it." ESPN's Michael Wilbon predicted the ad was "going to have a powerful impact in terms of just what people feel when they see this." But he said that does not mean the NFL is "going to sort of all of a sudden have the same reaction and they're going to react in kind." Wilbon: "Public opinion and then public pressure is perhaps the way they're counting on going with this, which has been a local issue, not a national issue, for more than 30 years" ("PTI," ESPN, 6/10). Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation Chair Marshall McKay said the ad can be used "as a catalyst to bring awareness to sports fans of the feelings of native people about the mascots" ("CBS This Morning," CBS, 6/11).

BIG MONEY BEHIND MOVEMENT: L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke called the ad "very compelling" and noted the fact the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation was "able to put the advertisement on a major sports event in major markets means there's finally big money behind this movement, which is huge." ESPN's J.A. Adande said, "When you hear the words that they do use and see the images that they use, you realize that is how you honor a people, not by using an offensive nickname that leads non-Native Americans to don headdresses and to paint their faces and, basically, mock the culture. The fact that enough people cared enough to spend enough money to air this ad, that's all you need to know." Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said the ad was "very powerful and very educational if you see it in its entirety." Cowlishaw: "I don't know if it will have an effect on the NFL, but at least it's something going in the right direction" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 6/10). CBS Sports Network's Allie LaForce: “Now it is actual tribes buying commercial time to prove a point. How many more tribes are going to pick up to that and start buying more ads? How big is this going to get?” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 6/10).
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