NFL Continues To Defend Redskins Name In Meeting With Oneida Indian Nation
Oneida Indian Nation leaders yesterday said that the NFL "continued to defend" the Redskins' name in a private meeting with the group, which has "launched a national campaign calling for its change," according to Vargas & Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said the meeting with top NFL officials was "historic." But he added that he was "disappointed that during the 90-minute discussion in Manhattan the league continued to present arguments for keeping the name of the Washington Redskins, including polls that show the majority of people support it." The Oneidas in a letter presented to NFL officials "called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to take specific actions, including amending the league’s bylaws to prohibit naming teams with dictionary-defined racial slurs" and referring team Owner Daniel Snyder to the league’s exec committee "for possible sanctions should he continue to promote a name that is 'clearly "detrimental to the welfare" of the NFL's image.'" A source said that "none of the group's demands were discussed during the meeting and NFL representatives first learned of them when they read the letter afterward." But an Oneida Nation spokesperson said that "several of the demands were discussed at the meeting." A source said that NFL Exec VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash, Senior VP/Labor Policy & Gov't Affairs Adolpho Birch and Exec VP/Communications & Government Affairs Paul Hicks "represented the NFL at the meeting." The Oneida Nation in addition to its letter "presented the NFL with a report that it commissioned called 'The Harmful Psychological Effects of the Washington Football Mascot'" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/31). ESPN.com's Don Van Natta Jr. reported Oneida officials also asked that Snyder and Goodell "visit Oneida Nation homelands in upstate New York." Oneida VP/Communications Joel Barkin after the meeting said, "They don't have a complete appreciation for the breadth of opposition of Native Americans to this mascot and name" (ESPN.com, 10/30).
ANY IMMEDIATE IMPACT? Washington Post columnist Mike Wise said even if the NFL "had to be embarrassed to open their doors" to meet with the Oneida Nation, it still is a "pretty historical moment." But Wise said he believed Snyder "genuinely has fond affinity for this name" of Redskins. ESPN's Andrew Brandt said the way the name is likely to be changed is not by "external pressure" but "internal pressure on Dan Snyder from the commissioner, from his fellow owners" ("OTL," ESPN, 10/30).
NEWSPAPER DROPS USAGE: S.F. Chronicle Managing Editor Audrey Cooper wrote in an e-mail that the newspaper "will stop using the name 'Redskins.'" Cooper wrote, "Our long-standing policy is to not use racial slurs -- and make no mistake, 'redskin' is a slur -- except in cases where it would be confusing to the reader to write around it. For example, we will use the team name when referring to the controversy surrounding its use." The K.C. Star and Slate.com have previously announced that they would stop using the term Redskins (POLITICO.com, 10/30). Psychologist Michael Friedman, who authored the Oneidas' report, said that 28 U.S. high schools "have dropped Redskins as a nickname" in the past 25 years (ESPN.com, 10/30).