Oneida Indian Calls ‘Redskins’ Name Detrimental To The NFL
The controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins’ team nickname has officially been labeled offensive, in reference to a proposed sanction that Oneida Indian Nation representatives raised to NFL executives on Wednesday, according to ESPN.com. Redskins team owner Daniel Snyder has continuously refuted the claim that his team nickname glorifies a derogatory term used to degrade Native Americans in post-colonial America.
Oneida leader Ray Halbritter has launched a campaign to dispel the supposedly racist team name, however, it appears unlikely for top NFL executives to share his billowing sentiment. Halbritter claims the reference to “Redskins” advocates “a dictionary-defined racial slur.” NFL senior executives Adolpho Birch, Jeff Pash and Paul Hicks reportedly defended the use of Washington’s heralded team name, although it’s become clear that this issue is extensive, one of which will not suddenly disappear.
Oneida spokesman Joel Barkin cited his disappointment in the outcome of the 90-minute meeting between Indian representatives and NFL brass, stating, “It’s clear that they don’t see how this is not a unifying term.” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was not present at the meeting, but will have substantial influence in how the ensuing bargaining process plays out.
The NFL seemingly holds a firm stance on refusing to pressure the team with the third highest net worth in the league to change its name. According to Forbes.com, the Redskins are valued at $1.7 billion, a whopping figure that checks-in behind only the New England Patriots ($1.8 billion) and Dallas Cowboys ($2.3 billion).
The marketability of the term “Redskins” has essentially exploited Native Americans in negative limelight, in respect to Oneida Indian Nation leaders’ stance on the matter. However, it’s unclear to what extent the term actually imposes disparaging thoughts and feelings. Oneida representative presented a 30-page study that assessed the so-called “scientific rationale” behind allowing the Redskins’ nickname to reign prominent in the NFL. The conclusion of the study determined the term contributes to “prejudice and discrimination” against Indians. Furthermore, it is considered harassment or bullying if used on an interpersonal level.
However, the Redskins are not directly imposing the use of the term on a platform that is intended to demean Native Americans. Intent is supposedly not the issue at hand though. The historical racial slur typically results in poor mental health in Native American children, especially in the presence of mascots, according to author Michael A. Friedman.
In the past 25 years, 28 U.S. high schools have made the conscious decision to drop the nickname “Redskins” in an effort to seemingly become more politically correct, according to Friedman. It doesn’t appear as though the NFL is concerned with politics at the moment though, especially in consideration of the nickname’s 81-year existence in professional football.
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