Instagram Idiocy for Pocahotties: Redskins Cheerleaders Shamed

source: above graphic, created in 2012 to celebrate 50 years of Redskins cheerleaders, showed up on the squad's Instagram page yesterday.

The above graphic, created in 2012 to celebrate 50 years of Redskins cheerleaders, showed up on the squad’s Instagram page yesterday.


Source: Indian Country Today


Not content to let Daniel Snyder’s office hog all the screwups, the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders have pulled their own social-media blunder by posting to Instagram pictures of the sexualized faux-Indian getups that their ancestors wore in the 1960s.

These were the uniforms of the “Redskinettes,” a trademark that was one of the six that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declined to renew last week — on grounds that the terms and imagery were considered “disparaging to Native Americans.” (“Redskinettes” has been out of use for some time — the cheerleaders are now called the “First Ladies of Football.”)

Given current events, the optics, as they say, are bad. The team continue to host a clinic in, as they say, not getting the memo.

There was a memo, wasn’t there? A memo summarizing a meeting of some sort, with slideshow presentations and perhaps a list of topics to avoid? When your sales pitch, to a public that is buying it less every day, is that your team name “honors” Native Americans, everyone at the organization should be on the same page. Here’s what that looks like:

Hey gang, let’s not do any of these:

Let’s not reference racist team owner George Preston Marshall. He is just not doing us any favors at this point (nor is that darn Nazi picture!!!) so let’s pretend he never existed. And that stadium deck named after him? Let’s come up with a new name.

Let’s never use the word Redskins to refer to the people in question. See, the Redskins are the team, and the team is a tribute to the people, but the people are not Redskins. In fact, let’s also avoid calling them Native Americans or American Indians, because that sort of demonstrates that there are other names they prefer. We’re just going to go with “Original Americans” because it’s none of the above. Got it? Original Americans.

Let’s not take our case to Twitter, which is teeming with clever people who will run circles around our fans, who try to win arguments by saying “HTTR!” a lot.

Let’s not use the old “but they’re doing it” excuse — especially if the “they” is a high school football team in Ohio. Remember, we’re in the big league now, we need to act like it. That’s not a metaphor — we really are in the big league.

Let’s not suggest that we aren’t changing our team name out of stubbornness. There’s a bad history in America of people holding onto things out of stubbornness (segregation, etc.) and we don’t want to be part of that. Got it? We are not stubborn. Never say “NEVER.” And please, please do not put it in caps.

Let’s not use the following words: Tradition, history, culture. Of course, we think there’s a lot of all three in our 92 years of pro football existence, but some people take a longer view. Some people, you tell them “We are proud of our history,” and they think you’re talking about really old stuff. You end up in an argument about whose history is older than whose, and there is really no point to that.

Let’s not suggest that we aren’t changing our team name because we have good lawyers. Legal department, please take note. 

Let’s not appear to be sneakily buying off some of the people in question.

Let’s not appear to be using the elderly as props.

Let’s not draw any attention to Chief Zee, cartoony old posters and game-day programs, or the sexy Pocahottie-style Redskinettes. We know all of these things  honor the people in question — the problem is, the people in question don’t know it. They see a picture of, say, a hot young non-Original American girl in a fringed miniskirt, wearing her hair in braids, with a feather sticking up, arms crossed like in the old movies — they just don’t get it. They don’t get that they’re being honored. So let’s just not draw attention to this sort of honoring. It is not being appreciated.


— end memo —

By the way, this is the second time that the Pocahottie Redskinettes outfits have shown up in the First Ladies of Football’s Instagram feed. In April, they posted a version of this 1962 photo:



NCAI, Former FCC Commissioners Call on FedEx to Cut Ties With ‘Redskins’

Flickr.comFedEx Field in Landover, Maryland
FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland


Simon Moya-Smith, Indian Country Today


On Tuesday, the National Congress of American Indians sent a letter to FedEx CEO Fredrick W. Smith encouraging him to dissolve his company’s relationship with the Washington Redskins on the grounds that the team name is pejorative and that by using it the team continues to honor the legacy of a segregationist.

“We are asking for you to help us stop Washington’s NFL football team from using FedEx’s name to endorse a dictionary-defined racial slur and promoting the legacy of the infamous segregationist who decided to use this slur to brand the team,” the letter reads. “At FedEx field, your company is allowing its iconic brand to be used as a platform to promote the R-word – a racist epithet that was screamed at Native Americans as they were dragged at gunpoint off their lands.”,

The “infamous segregationist” mentioned in the letter is former team owner George Preston Marshall, who is remembered for his long refusal to include African Americans on his team’s roster. The lower level of FedEx field is named for Mr. Marshall.

The letter, signed by representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation and United Church of Christ, was sent to Smith after the U.S. patent office declared last week the team name is “disparaging to Native Americans” and cancelled six of its federally protected trademarks.

Following that landmark decision, individual Native Americans and former Federal Communication Commission officials are again calling on the FCC to reconsider the use of the name during broadcasts.

In a letter sent to Snyder earlier this year, former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, former Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Nicholas Johnson argue that an indecency case could be made against broadcasters who air the disparaging word on the air, Politico reported.

“It is impermissible under law that the FCC would condone, or that broadcasters would use, obscene pornographic language on live television,” the letter, obtained by Politico, reads. “This medium uses government owned airwaves in exchange for an understanding that it will promote the public interest. Similarly, it is inappropriate for broadcasters to use racial epithets as part of normal, everyday reporting.”

Hundt spoke to Indian Country Today Media Network and said that the FCC should reevaluate whether or not Snyder is “fit” to have licenses from the FCC. By “fit,” Hundt said he means “a person of appropriate character.”

“The FCC should consider whether Mr. Snyder is fit to own radio station licenses given that he uses radio stations to broadcast an ethnic slur,” he said. “These licenses are owned by the public and they are given to individuals for the purpose of serving the public interest. The FCC does not give radio station licenses to felons; it doesn’t give radio station licenses to people of bad character. Historically, [the FCC] has been reluctant to give broadcast licenses to people who advocate racially intolerant positions.”

Hundt added that it’ll take financial pressure for Snyder to change the team name and that Native Americans should petition the FCC to reconsider the use of the slur on broadcast radio and television.

“Unfortunately the team owner has been completely deaf to the public opinion – that he should get a new name for the team,” he said. “And the only way to get the team renamed is to inflict economic impact on Mr. Snyder. This is sad, but true. Therefore it’s a very good idea to ask that [FedEx] publically state that they don’t want their name on the stadium, associated with this derogatory racial slur. Only if money talks will [Snyder] walk away from the name.”

Native Americans have already begun efforts against FedEx’s association with Snyder and the Washington team.

Jacqueline Keeler, Navajo and Yankton Dakota writer and activist, launched a campaign on to encourage consumers to boycott FedEx until Smith divests from the team. The petition – aptly titled, “Pledge to Stop Using FedEx While They Still Quietly Support Washington ‘Redskins’ Shameful Mascot” – asks individuals not to patronize FedEx while it remains associated with the team.

“The idea that a company as large and ubiquitous as FedEx could support an overt slur of Native people and not experience any negative side effects shows how marginalized Native people are in this country,” Keeler wrote in a message to ICTMN. “This company would never become part owner in a team that bore the name of an offensive ethnic slur of any other group in this country.”

Smith, who is a shareholder of the Washington team, told CNBC host Kelly Evans that he doesn’t have a dog in the fight and was mum when asked if Snyder should change the team name.

“Well, first of all, let me answer that question from the standpoint of FedEx, which sponsors FedEx Field,” Smith said, according to USA TODAY. “We have a long-standing contract with Washington Football, Inc. The Redskins play at FedEx Field, but there are many, many other events there — the Rolling Stones, Notre Dame, Army and Navy football, Kenny Chesney. So that’s our sponsorship, and we really don’t have any dog in this issue from a standpoint of FedEx. From a personal standpoint, I’m a shareowner in the Redskins football team, but Mr. Snyder – who’s the majority owner – and the Redskins speak for the franchise,” he said.



Redskins Lawyer Claims There Is ‘No Momentum’ for Name Change

AP Photo/Jim MoneAmerican Indians and their supporters gather outside the Metrodome to protest the Washington Redskins' name, prior to an NFL football game between the team and the Minnesota Vikings, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

AP Photo/Jim Mone
American Indians and their supporters gather outside the Metrodome to protest the Washington Redskins’ name, prior to an NFL football game between the team and the Minnesota Vikings, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Indian Country Today


The changing of the racist name of the Washington Redskins football team is looking more and more certain — to everyone, that is, except the team’s own honchos. Owner Dan Snyder stated just over a year ago, “We will never change the name of the team … It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.” Sportscaster Al Michaels, who has talked with Snyder on the subject, says the owner “basically said [the team would change its name] ‘over my dead body.’

Yesterday, following the announcement that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was rejecting six of the team’s trademarks, the team’s lawyer offered a similarly stubborn statement. Unlike some previous feeble attempts from Redskins representatives to assert that the name “honors” American Indians, attorney Bob Raskopf stuck to the legal-ese:

“As the district court’s ruling made clear in 2003, the evidence ‘is insufficient to conclude that during the relevant time periods the trademark at issue disparaged Native Americans…’ The court continued, ‘The Court concludes that the [Board’s] finding that the marks at issue ‘may disparage’ Native Americans is unsupported by substantial evidence, is logically flawed, and fails to apply the correct legal standard to its own findings of fact.’ Those aren’t my words. That was the court’s conclusion. We are confident that when a district court review’s today’s split decision, it will reach a similar conclusion.”

So… is the team’s name racist? Should it be changed? Those are not questions Raskopf is paid to address, nor are they questions Snyder and his surrogates ever really address. It’s all about what they can get away with, legally, not what is right or wrong.

It’s not about reviewing the facts — it’s about selling their version of the facts, a tactic demonstrated in a comment of Raskopf’s that surfaced in an AP story titled “Ruling adds momentum for Redskins name change”:

“There’s no momentum in the place that momentum matters,” Raskopf said. “And that’s in Native America.”

No momentum?

This is an attempt to sell two false narratives. One is that American Indians don’t care about the issue. And the other, implied, false narrative is that the opinions of American Indians matter, at all, to the Redskins organization. (“We would change something, but we’ve looked around and nobody seems to be upset. Just kidding, we didn’t really look. And also just kidding, we wouldn’t change anything anyway.”)

Really… no momentum?

Evidently he’s not getting his news from this website, where we’ve reported that “67 Percent of Native Americans Say Redskins Is Offensive”. Raskopf may also have missed the story about the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation buying a TV ad during the NBA Finals. He may have missed the National Congress of the American Indians’ statements (there have been a few) condemning the name, as well as the activism of Native American Olympian Billy Mills (both Mills and NCAI Chairman Brian Cladoosby praised yesterday’s ruling.) He may have missed ICTMN columnist Gyasi Ross — who not long ago professed not to care about the issue — joining Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter on ESPN’s Outside the Lines.

Ross appeared on MSNBC and HuffPo Live in the wake of yesterday’s news — Raskopf might have missed those clips as well.

He may even have missed the uproar over the Navajo golf tournament the Redskins sponsored — a sneaky move that caused the Notah Begay III Foundation and the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) to sever ties with the event. The debacle happened to be preceded by a condemnation of the name by the Navajo Nation Council.

No momentum in Native America? Here’s a tip for Raskopf, Snyder, and the Redskins organization: If you don’t see “momentum” against your team’s offensive name in “Native America,” it’s because you’re not looking. Try looking in Indian country. That’s what it’s called. Learn to call it by its name and you might start learning a whole bunch of other things.

(Yes, it’s called Indian country. You weren’t thinking Redskinland, were you?)



U.S. patent office cancels Redskins trademark registration, says name is disparaging

BY THERESA VARGAS | June 18 at 9:56 AM


The Washington Post

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, calling the football team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.”

The landmark case, which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. It was the second time such a case was filed.

“This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm,” said lead attorney Jesse Witten, of Drinker Biddle & Reath.

Federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups or “bring them into contempt or disrepute.” The ruling pertains to six different trademarks associated with the team, each containing the word “Redskin.”

“We are extraordinarily gratified to have prevailed in this case,” Alfred Putnam Jr., the chairman of Drinker Biddle & Reath, said. “The dedication and professionalism of our attorneys and the determination of our clients have resulted in a milestone victory that will serve as an historic precedent.”

The ruling does not mean that the Redskins have to change the name of the team. It does affect whether the team and the NFL can make money from merchandising because it limits the team’s legal options when others use the logos and the name on T shirts, sweatshirts, beer glasses and license plate holders.

In addition, Native Americans have won at this stage before, in 1999. But the team and the NFL won an appeal to federal court in 2009. The court did not rule on the merits of the case, however, but threw it out, saying that the plaintiffs didn’t have standing to file it. The team is likely to make the same appeal this time. Team officials are expected to make a statement this morning.

The current lawsuit was brought eight years ago by Amanda Blackhorse, Phillip Glover, Marcus Briggs-Cloud, Jillian Pappan and Courtney Tsotigh.

“It is a great victory for Native Americans and for all Americans,” Blackhorse said in a statement. “I hope this ruling brings us a step closer to that inevitable day when the name of the Washington football team will be changed.”

The Redskins name change controversy has been gathering steam over the past few years. U.S. senators, former and current NFL players and others all have called for team owner Dan Snyder to change the name.

Snyder has steadfastly refused to consider a name change, saying the name and logo honor Native Americans.

Snyder declined to comment as he left the practice field at Redskins Park, the team’s training facility in Ashburn, following a morning practice Wednesday at an offseason minicamp. Snyder did not verbally acknowledge a reporter’s question on the the ruling, instead waving his hand and continuing to walk.

Team officials said there would be a statement on the ruling later in the day.

Bruce Allen, the team’s president and general manager, said as he walked off the practice field Wednesday: “When the statement comes out, you’ll get it.”

Asked whether the Redskins believe they can continue to use their team name under the circumstances, Allen said: “Did you read it?… We’re fine. We’re fine.”

Staff writer Mark Maske contributed to this story.


Yocha Dehe Tribe to Air TV Ad Against R-dskins Name in Seven Major Markets During NBA Championship Game


Source: Oneida Nation Homelands (NY) (PRWEB) June 10, 2014

During halftime of tonight’s NBA Championship game, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation is airing a segment from the powerful TV ad called “Proud to Be,” which was produced by the National Congress of American Indians. The ad celebrates Native American culture and underscores their opposition to the use of the dictionary-defined R-word slur.

At halftime of tonight’s Game 3 of the NBA Championship, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation will air in seven major T.V. markets a 60-second version of the National Congress of American Indians’ Proud To Be ad, which celebrates Native American culture and opposes the racist name of Washington, D.C.’s NFL team. This is the first time the ad has aired on television, and it is being run in order to educate the general public about Native American opposition to the R-word. The ad is airing in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. after airing in Miami during halftime of Game 2 on Sunday night.*

The advertisement highlights the defining and distinguished characteristics, names and legacies of many Native American tribes throughout the United States. But as the video clearly states, there is one denigrating term which Native peoples never use to describe themselves: R*dskin.

As Chairman Marshall McKay of Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation underscored in a message posted to YouTube: “The R-word is as derogatory a slur as the N-word. When this name first came to be, it was a vehicle for people to bring the victims of violence into an office so they could collect a bounty. I think the Change the Mascot campaign will shed some well-deserved light on the trauma and the disadvantaged people on reservations and throughout the country that are Native American that really haven’t had this opportunity to talk about the pain and the anguish that this kind of racism puts us through.”

James Kinter, Tribal Secretary of Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation also stated in the video: “The Change the Mascot movement is larger than Yocha Dehe or any one tribe. It’s about all tribal people and non-tribal people raising their voices in protest.”

In a joint statement, NCAI Executive Director Jackie Pata and Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said: “We applaud the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation for having the vision and commitment to ensure that the American public receives the message loud and clear that Native Americans strongly oppose the use of this disparaging slur. Contrary to the team’s absurd claims, this dictionary-defined racial epithet does not honor our heritage. The Change the Mascot campaign continues to gather strength every time that people are educated about the origin of the R-word and its damaging impact on Native peoples. By airing this ad during the NBA Championships, the message will be brought into the living rooms of millions of American all across the country.”

The moral and civil rights issue of the team’s unapologetic use of a dictionary-defined slur has come to the forefront of American consciousness more than ever in recent weeks. Half of the U.S. Senate recently signed a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell urging a change for the D.C. team’s mascot. Shortly thereafter, 77 leading Native American, civil rights and religious organizations representing millions of Americans wrote to every player in the league asking them to stand up against the team’s use of a racial epithet as a mascot.

*Anti-Redskins ad to air during NBA Finals, 6.10.14,

The 81-Year-Old Newspaper Article That Destroys the Redskins’ Justification For Their Name

George Preston Marshall, founder and owner of the Washington Redskins, in 1935.CREDIT: AP

George Preston Marshall, founder and owner of the Washington Redskins, in 1935.

By Travis Waldron May 30, 2014


As challenges against the name of the Washington Redskins have persisted for more than four decades, the team’s ownership and management has held on to a consistent story: that the team changed its original name, the Boston Braves, to the Boston Redskins in 1933 to honor its coach, William “Lone Star” Dietz, who maintained at the time that he was a member of the Sioux tribe.

But in a 1933 interview with the Associated Press, George Preston Marshall, the team’s owner and original founder, admitted that the story wasn’t true.

“The fact that we have in our head coach, Lone Star Dietz, an Indian, together with several Indian players, has not, as may be suspected, inspired me to select the name Redskins,” Marshall said in the AP report. The quote was originally referenced in a story on the team’s name at Sports Illustrated’s MMQB site. Jesse Witten, the lead attorney in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the team’s federal trademark protection, unearthed the actual AP report this week, and provided it to to Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney. ESPN’s Keith Olbermann reported it on his show, “Olbermann,” Thursday night.

Here’s a copy of the news clip, which ran in the Hartford (Conn.) Courant on July 5, 1933:


The team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, and top management have justified the team’s name as an “honor” to Native Americans in letters to fans and the public. So too has NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. And both have leaned on the story that Marshall chose the name to honor Dietz to make that case.

Snyder referenced the history without using Dietz’s name specifically in a letter to season ticket-holders last October:

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.

The team has also used Dietz’s heritage — and the claim that the Redskins were named in his honor — to defend itself in the lawsuits challenging its federal trademark.

The NFL, too, has rested its case on that history. Goodell did so in a letter to 10 members of Congress who wrote him to challenge the name last June. The commissioner called the name a symbol of “strength, courage, pride, and respect” and specifically referenced Dietz’s role in the name:

In our view, a fair and thorough discussion of the issue must begin with an understanding of the roots of the Washington franchise and the Redskins name in particular. As you may know, the team began as the Boston Braves in 1932, a name that honored the courage and heritage of Native Americans. The following year, the name was changed to the Redskins — in part to avoid confusion with the Boston baseball team of the same name, but also to honor the teams then-head coach, William Lone Star Dietz.

Asked for their response to the news clip, neither the NFL nor the Washington Redskins responded by the time of publication.

Dietz’s history was already in question at the time thanks to the work of historian Linda M. Waggoner, whose exhaustive account of Dietz’s life found that he almost certainly was not a Native American, as he had claimed. In fact, Dietz faced a federal trial alleging that he had falsely represented himself as a Native American to avoid the World War I draft. After the first trial ended with a hung jury, Dietz pleaded no contest to the same charges in a second trial and served 30 days in jail.

When ThinkProgress asked the franchise about the claims that Dietz was not a Native American last year, the team’s president and general manager, Bruce Allen, called the questions “ignorant requests” and suggested that we speak to Dietz’s family instead.

Amid scrutiny about Dietz’s history, the team has given the appearance of backing away from relying on the claim that he inspired the name. Notably, Allen did not cite Dietz or the origins of the name in his written response to a letter from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and 49 other senators who called on the team to drop “Redskins.”

If Marshall didn’t choose the name based on Dietz or the presence of Native Americans, what was his reason? As Olbermann notes in his report, the team chose its original name — the Boston Braves — because it shared a field with Boston’s baseball team by the same name. Marshall explains the AP story that he gave up the name “Braves” because it was too easily confused with the baseball team, and he chose “Redskins” to keep the Native American imagery as the team moved away from the Braves and into Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox.

Until recently, that story was more commonly told than the one about Dietz. In 1972, freelance writer Joe Marshall wrote a story on team nicknames in a promotional program from a game between Washington and the Atlanta Falcons. Joe Marshall didn’t reference Dietz in his story, instead writing that the team wanted to “change names but keep the Indian motif”:

The Redskins also copied a baseball team, the Boston Braves. George Preston Marshall started with his team in Boston on Braves Field. When he switched playing sites, he wanted to change names but keep the Indian motif. Since he was now sharing a park with the Red Sox and at the same time liked Harvard’s crimson jerseys, Redskins seemed appropriate. Redskins they have remained, a proud tradition. Until now, that is.

In that sense, it seems obvious that the name “Redskins” was chosen more as a marketing ploy than anything else, a way to tweak the team’s name without changing the image it had established. Regardless of the original motive, however, this much is clear: the story the team and NFL have used to justify the name’s existence as a “badge of honor” is not true, and the man who founded the team refuted it himself more than 80 years ago.

‘Redskins’ Players Weigh in on Name; Team President Says It’s ‘Respectful’

 Associated Press

Associated Press

Indian Country Today

Redskins President Bruce Allen sent a response to Senators Maria Cantwell (D-MD) and Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) letter on Friday, saying that the team’s name was “respectful” toward Native Americans. “Our use of Redskins as the name of our football team for more than 81 years has always been respectful of and shown reverence toward the proud legacy and traditions of Native Americans,” Allen wrote in the letter addressed to Reid.

On May 22, 50 senators sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell urging him to endorse changing the team’s name. Goodell has yet to publicly respond to the letter, but Allen and his franchise remain defiant.

In his letter, Allen said the name “originated as a Native American expression of solidarity” and that its logo was designed by Native Americans (ICTMN reported that this story about the logo’s design was fabricated; as did the The Washington Post). He also wrote that a majority of Native Americans as well as all Americans supported the team’s name, a fact that has been frequently disputed; most notably by the Change the Mascot Campaign.

RELATED Change Happens: Majority of Wash Post Readers Now Say Change ‘Redskins’

RELATED Redskins Run the Wrong Play, Again, With ‘Community Voices’ Campaign

Some of the team’s players have tweeted their support for Allen’s letter. Each tweet from Ryan Kerrigan, Desean Jackson, Alfred Morris, Brian Orakpo, and Pierre Garcon said something similar, “President Bruce Allen sets the record straight in response to Harry Reid’s letter.“ Other players also weighed in in support of the letter.

Bruce Allen is the President and GM of the Washington football team (AP Photo)
Bruce Allen is the President and GM of the Washington football team (AP Photo)


In January, however, cornerback DeAngelo Hall told Mike Hill of Fox Sports that the team should “probably change its name.” He’s the only ‘Redskins’ player who has dared even whisper a public name-change endorsement. And the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, told, that the NFL would not take action similar to what the NBA did in banning soon to be former Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his racist comments“because we have an NFL team called the Redskins.”

RELATED ‘Redskins’ Player Says Team ‘Probably Should’ Change Name

But the National Congress of American Indians is hoping for more than just a few players to speak out. The organization reportedly sent more than 2,700 letters to players and former players in the NFL asking them to speak out against the name. The letter included some of Sherman’s comments on the Redskins name.

“Because you are in the NFL, you command a level of respect and credibility when speaking out about the league’s behavior,” NCAI’s letter said. “Indeed, players are the most publicly identifiable representatives of the league, which means your support is critical to ending this injustice.”

Players — some former players and coaches — were asked to respond using the hashtag #rightsideofhistory.

Here are a few tweets in support of the name change:






New York State Lawmakers Denounce ‘Redskins’ Name, Pass Unanimous Resolution

Associated PressNew York State Assembly

Associated Press
New York State Assembly


The name ‘Redskins’ has taken another hit.

On Monday, the New York State Assembly unanimously passed a resolution saying that professional sports teams should end their use of racial slurs. The resolution specifically denounces the Washington football team’s name and urges team owner Daniel Snyder to pick a new one.

The bill was originally prompted by students in Cooperstown, New York, who voted to stop using the term “redsk*ns” as the name of their school’s mascot, but it was formally introduced by Assemblymen Keith Wright and Karim Camara on May 6 when a bipartisan group of lawmakers held a press conference denouncing the word.

“We shouldn’t have to put forth this resolution,” Democratic Assemblyman Keith Wright told the Associated Press earlier this month. “The word is absolutely offensive to the Native American community and beyond.”

In a statement on Monday, Camara, who chairs the black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Cacus, condemed the promotion and marketing of racial slurs. He also called on the media to refrain from using the R-word in its media reports.

“Until the NFL decides that the use of a term that is a dictionary defined racial slur should be stopped, the media, especially in New York, should stop using it,” Karmin Camara said in a press release. “New York is a place where all people should feel welcome and not be subjected to racial slurs while reading their morning newspaper. Editors and producers already have guidelines in place to not use certain language, including racial slurs. The time has come for the term “redsk*n” to join the other racial slurs and words used to denigrated different ethnic groups and cultures no longer used by media outlets in New York.”

Karim-Camara (D) (Courtesy Assembly.State.NY.US)
Karim-Camara (D) (Courtesy Assembly.State.NY.US)


New York State legislators came to their decision on the same day that the NFL hosted its Spring Meeting in Atlanta. They have joined a growing list of individuals, news organizations, Members of Congress, and President Obama in criticizing the team’s name.

“Today is so significant because this resolution signifies that New York is making a statement that it wants to stand on the right side of history,” said Ray Halbritter, CEO of Oneida Indian Nation. “New York’s lawmakers clearly understand how important state legislatures have been to previous movements against pathologies like bigotry and inequality.”

The Oneida Nation’s Change the Mascot campaign has aired nationwide radio ads throughout the past NFL season calling for a name change and the campaign plans to continue its efforts in the upcoming 2014-2015 season.

RELATED New York State Lawmakers Announce Resolution Calling for Pro Sports Teams to Stop Using Racial Slurs

“Racism should have no place in our society, which includes sports, which are not just games,” Camara said. “They also reflect what we accept and embrace in our culture.”



Outrage in Indian Country as Redskins Owner Announces Foundation

Associated PressWashington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Associated Press
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.


Indian Country Today Media Network

With a four-page letter released late in the day on Monday, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has taken his stubborn defense of the team’s name to a new level.

The early reaction from Indian country: We’re not buying it.

The campaign to quell controversy over the name of the Washington Redskins football team has in recent months included photo ops with Navajo code talkers and a highly suspect Native pro-Redskins grassroots campaign. Now Snyder has announced the creation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.

Snyder’s letter begins by affirming that he has no intention of ever changing his team’s problematic name, referring to a letter he wrote to fans in the fall: “I wrote then–and believe even more firmly now–that our team name captures the best of who we are and who we can be, by staying true to our history and honoring the deep and enduring values our name represents.”

The Redskins owner then describes his campaign of outreach to American Indian communities, and cites facts about poverty, health, and standard of living in Native communities that everyone in Indian country is all too familiar with.

Snyder’s conclusion: Clinging to his team’s racial-slur name is a noble gesture, but isn’t enough to solve Indian country’s problems. Or as he puts it: “It’s not enough to celebrate the values and heritage of Native Americans. We must do more.”

The letter is rife with self-satisfaction and misdirection, repeatedly emphasizing all the wonderful ways the Redskins, through the Foundation, might help Indian country, with no mention of the elephant in the room: The widespread objection in Indian country to the team’s name. For instance, here’s another interesting tap dance, bolded and italicized as in the original:

“Our efforts will address the urgent challenges plaguing Indian country based on what Tribal leaders tell us they need most. We may have created this new organization, but the direction of the Foundation is truly theirs.”

Such willingness to let Indians say what is most beneficial for Indians does not, obviously, extend to his football team’s name.

The announcement has met with harsh criticism in Indian country.

“We’re glad that after a decade of owning the Washington team, Mr. Snyder finally says he is interested in Native American heritage, but this doesn’t change the fact that he needs to stand on the right side of history and change his team’s name,” Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, said in a statement to ThinkProgress.

Suzan Shown Harjo, who has led the legal charge against the name for decades, shared stronger words with Think Progress: “Native America is impoverished? He just now figured that out? We know what the pressing issues are. We’re the ones who’ve been dealing with them all our lives. What an insult. The whole thing. This is a stunt. To me, it’s a stunt. But we’ll see. Supposedly it’s a change of heart, but it’s not a change of mind. And it’s not a change of name.”

Backlash on Twitter from Natives, many of whom have been united by the #NotYourMascot hashtag, has been forceful.

Frank Waln ‏@FrankWaln “Dan Snyder is scum of the earth”

Lauren Chief Elk ‏@ChiefElk “Countdown until ‘Dan Snyder is trying to help you and you guys aren’t even grateful!'”

Johnnie Jae ‏@johnniejae “Apparently visiting 26 of 300+ reservations & bribing 400 tribal leaders means we should bow to our new savior Dan Snyder #notyourmascot

What TRIBE ‏@WhatTRIBE “When redeeming racist brands, hire brand management experts from secret service to create pity press for penance/ not repentance @Redskins

Dani ‏@xodanix3  “Whats most frustrating about Snyder’s strategies is just how petty they are. Its insulting they even take it there.”

julia good fox ‏@goodfox “‘@Redskins: It’s not enough to celebrate the values and heritage of #Native Americans, we must do more’ <— not The Onion.”

Sarah ‏@eyesnhearts “I’m pretty sure I don’t need the white savior industrial complex to help me with my reality #NotYourMascot

Adrienne K. ‏@NativeApprops “What kind of choice is that for communities? Here, have some desperately needed resources. Shhh, just say you don’t mind the racial slur.”

Aura Bogado ‏@aurabogado “Synder understands #Natives so well that he mentioned Redskins 24 times, and tribal sovereignty 0 times”

Jacqueline Keeler ‏@jfkeeler “Dan Snyder, helping is not dictating. Being a friend means listening not buying silence.  #NotYourMascot

Snyder’s letter is below; the original pdf is available at



Pelosi Says Trademark Office Should Not Protect ‘Redskins’

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiAssociated Press

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
Associated Press

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the word “redskins” should not be a protected trademark.

RELATED Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Says ‘No’ to ‘Redskins’

“We all respect freedom of speech, but the [U.S. Patent and] Trademark office has rejected names which are considered offensive and they should do it now,” Pelosi said at an event hosted by the National Congress of American Indians. “They can keep their name on the team, but when it comes to all the stuff — that’s serious money. So I think that is one path that we can go.”

Pelosi told The Hill in October, that the name should change saying that the “R-word” is insulting and a racial slur to Native American people. “”It’s time to choose another name,” she said during the NCAI event. “In fact, it’s long overdue.”

This is the first time that Ms. Pelosi has publicly put pressure on the trademark office to use its power to make a change. The U.S. Patent and Trademark office declined to offer a statement on Pelosi’s remarks, the Huff Post said.

The office has rejected related trademarks such as, Redskins Fanatic, Redskin Rooters and ICTMN reported that Redskins Hog Rinds was also rejected in January due to “redskins” being a “derogatory term.”

RELATED Patent Office: Your ‘Redskins’ Pork Rinds Are Racist, Trademark Denied

A lawsuit to revoke the NFL team’s name is currently pending before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and in January, The Washington Post said that a decision was expected soon. In 1992, Suzan Harjo brought a similar suit but it was thrown out on a technicality in 2009.