By Theresa Vargas
A California tribe paid for the anti-Redskins advertisement “Proud to Be” to run in seven major cities during halftime. The airing marked the first time the ad, which initially appeared online in time for the Super Bowl, had run before such a wide television audience.
The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, based about an hour northeast of San Francisco, would not say how much it spent for the coveted advertising slot, only that it was a “significant investment” that was deemed necessary to further what its leaders describe as an important discussion of racism.
“It’s just a time to get people thinking about putting an end to outward hatred and using sports as a tool to focus on racism,” Marshall McKay, chairman of the Yocha Dehe Wintun tribal council, said in a video explaining the tribe’s involvement in the name controversy.
By Sean McDowell
Professor Rhonda LeValdo also teaches at Haskell University, and has been an activist seeking change to sports names that refer to Native Americans. She believes the ads spread awareness, and from her viewpoint, common sense.
“I think it’s important to help non-native people understand how this word is demeaning to our people,” LeValdo said. “Just by explaining that, you’re educating a whole group of people as to why that word is offensive.”
Both professors say they hope the ads bring attention to practices like the ‘tomahawk chop,’ which Wildcat says is inherently offensive to his culture. In fact, Dr. Wildcat says so many of those instances have sprung up in sports, that he’s stopped watching the National Football League altogether.
Evocative, soulful, unsparing
By David Gianatasio
You know what else Native Americans are? Media savvy, and skillful at playing the PR game. Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who famously told USA Today he'd never change the name—"NEVER. You can use caps"—looks more tone-deaf, mean-spirited and, in the eyes of some, flat-out racist the longer he holds the line. A Redskins rep declined to comment for this post, but Snyder has steadfastly maintained the name is not offensive but a badge of honor, and respectful of Native Americans.
Even if that's what Snyder and many die-hard fans truly believe, bad feelings will fester the longer this drags on. With each NFL season, we'll get more parking-lot protests at Redskins games, more commentators parsing the controversy on halftime shows and more indignant sports columnists who refer to the club as the R*dskins or "The Washington Football Team."
Ultimately, Snyder will be remembered as the villain, a guy who fumbled an opportunity to stand up for change and perhaps inspire a new generation—a legacy he could have been proud of.
By Stephen Magagnini
“By then, it happened to be basketball season,” McKay said.
He declined to divulge how much his tribe spent, other than to say the amount was “substantial.” The ad first ran in the Miami market during halftime of Sunday’s second game of the NBA Finals, then aired in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Dallas and Chicago during the third game.
“I just want people to be aware of the feeling native people get when they hear the word, and to share the knowledge of its history and meaning so people can make their own decisions whether they want to continue to use it,” McKay said. “Hopefully the owner of the team will consider changing the name.”
By Wednesday afternoon, the ad had racked up more than 2.5 million views on YouTube, in addition to the millions of NBA fans who saw it on television.
Understand The Context Of Stirring Video Urging Redskins To Change Their Name
By Jeffrey Eisenband
"My wife went over and sat next to them," Kohler said. "She said, 'What does that mean on your shirt?' And she pointed over to where my daughter and I were sitting, and she said, 'You see that little girl?' She said, 'Why are they killing all the Indians?'"
The teenagers claimed the shirts were part of their spirit day and they did not even know Native Americans were still around.