Shelby: You know those NFL super-fans who travel around the country just to cheer on their team? Well, this year, the Washington Redskins practically have the exact opposite. It is a series of negative radio ads hitting the airwaves both at home and on the road. Keith Kocinski explains.
Keith: The Oneida Indian Nation began circulating a new series of radio ads this week…
Radio ad: The dictionary defines it as quote, ‘an offensive term for Native Americans.’
Keith: …Insisting one of football’s most storied franchises change its name. It is the latest effort in a battle that has been working its way through the legal system for two decades. Protesters say the name ‘redskin’ is a racial slur.
Ayashe Barton: The term redskin in the dictionary, it has almost the same definition as the n-word.
Keith: There is a long history to the name. The team got its name when it played in Boston in the 1930s. Originally known as the Braves, the team owner changed it to Redskins, actually to honor the coach, a Native American. But what began as an honor became, for some, an outright offense.
Barbara Munson: The symbol that they are using of the Indian person in profile with the line across the neck is called a severed head logo. That was the kind of symbol that you would find in the colonial period at a place where someone was going to bring skulls or scalps to receive bounty money.
Keith: So far, the team has blocked legal efforts to force them to drop the name. The topic is back in the spotlight as football season is in full swing. Plus, Congress reviews the case for future legislation, a trademark lawsuit continues, and a renewed media blitz is underway. This means the pressure is once again building for the Washington Redskins organization.
Ray Halbritter: We do not deserve to be called redskins. We deserve to be treated as what we are – Americans.
Keith: Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has vowed publicly the team will never change the name.
An NFL spokesman says, ‘We respect that reasonable people may have differing views. The name from its origin has always intended to be positive and has always been used by the team in a highly respectful manner.’
Redskins fan and blogger Anthony Brown agrees.
Anthony Brown: They certainly aren’t laughing at anyone about it or deriding Native American people because they use that term.
Keith: And the Washington Redskins aren’t the only professional teams being protested.
There are concerns with Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians; also, the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks.
Many of the nation’s high schools and colleges have changed their names in recent years because of this. In fact, states like Oregon ban the use of Native American names and mascots in their schools. But in other places, like Michigan, complaints about the use have been rejected.
Critics of Washington’s team hope that this time they will prevail in court.
Keith Kocinski, Channel One News.