A letter signed by dozens of Native American, civil rights and religious organizations will be sent to every NFL player on Wednesday asking each to add his "powerful voice to the hundreds who are already speaking out."
The letter is spearheaded by the Oneida Indian Nation and the National Congress of American Indians, two groups who have been at the forefront of the campaign to change the team's name.
The letter is being mailed to teams, and it is also being sent to players via Twitter. It notes that the Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman recently expressed concerns about the Redskins name.
By Erik Brady
NCAI and the Oneidas announced today that they are sending a letter to every NFL player asking them to speak out against the Washington team name, which 50 U.S. Senators called a racial slur in a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last week.
The announcement said that 77 other groups, including civil rights and religious organizations, have cosigned the letter. The letter will also be circulated to NFL players by Twitter with the hashtag #rightsideofhistory.
"It is extremely heartening to see the widespread support from dozens of diverse organizations and thought leaders all coming together to demand a change for the team that represents our nation's capital," NCAI Executive Director Jackie Pata said in a statement. "Today our eyes turn to the NFL players. By voicing statements of support and calling for change, they have an historic opportunity to oppose racism and end the league's endorsement of this denigrating term."
By Drew Jacobs
"'Because you are in the NFL, you command a level of respect and credibility when speaking out about the league's behavior,' the letter said. 'Indeed, players are the most publicly identifiable representatives of the league, which means your support is critical to ending this injustice.'
"Goodell and Washington team officials have consistently said they don't believe the name is disparaging to Native Americans and have cited polls that show that the majority of people share that sentiment."
How condescending and arrogant of Goodell and Snyder to tell Native Americans what they should and shouldn't find offensive. No one can make that determination other than Native Americans themselves. And many of them have explicitly stated that the term 'redskin' is offensive.
Fond du Lac Band joins letter to NFL players opposing Redskins name
Snyder should listen
Man In The Mirror: Why Daniel Snyder Could End Up Sharing Donald Sterling's Sorry Legacy If He Doesn't Act Fast
By Marc Edelman
But at the end of the day, NBA owner Donald Sterling will likely be remembered as the racist Clippers owner who chastised a female companion for bringing African-Americans to his games.
And if Daniel Snyder does not act fast, society may remember his legacy in a similar vein—as the racist NFL owner who refused to change his football team name, even after 50 U.S. Senators pleaded with him to do so.
The mere fact that Congress has broached the use of Daniel Snyder’s team name just days after Donald Sterling’s attempted ouster by the NBA sends a clear message to the NFL that racially insensitive speech will not be tolerated in American sports—irrespective of whether the speech is uttered to a female companion on audiotape, or on team helmets and jerseys that the league sells to its fans for profit.
Congress’s letter may also seal Snyder’s fate as a human being, if Snyder does not move quickly to correct that.