WASHINGTON (AP) – More than a dozen Native American leaders and organizations sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday asking that the league force Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s name immediately.
The letter was signed by 15 Native American supporters and obtained from The Associated Press. Requires the team and the NFL to stop using Native American names, images and logos, with particular emphasis on Washington, which launched a “thorough review” last week “Of his name.
The letter was delivered on the same day that President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to any change of name by the team. Several team sponsors have come in favor of the change recently and Snyder has shown his first indication of his willingness to do so amidst a national movement to erase insensibly racial symbols.
According to their letter, the groups “expect the NFL to engage in a solid and meaningful reconciliation process with the leaders, tribes and organizations of the Native American movement to repair the decades of emotional violence and other serious harm that this racist team name caused the natives. “
The NFL did not immediately respond to a message confirming receipt of the letter. Goodell last week expressed support for Snyder̵
Retired PGA Tour golfer Notah Begay, the founder of IllumiNative Crystal Echo Hawk, two former executive directors of the National Congress of American Indians and several authors and professors have signed the letter, which wants a complete team rebranding “to ensure that continuing damage is not perpetuated by anyone. “
Trump is opposed to the rebranding of the Cleveland Indians of Redskins and Major League Baseball, who are also considering a name change.
Trump tweeted: “They call the teams for STRENGTH, not for weakness, but now the Indians Washington Redskins and Cleveland, two legendary sports franchises, seem to change their names to be politically correct.”
Snyder had been determined not to change the name on several occasions since purchasing the team in 1999. Last week, he sponsored FedEx, PepsiCo, Nike and Bank of America statements released in which they claim to have requested a change and several online stores have removed the team’s tools.
“We believe it is time to change,” said PepsiCo.
FedEx CEO Frederick Smith owns a minority and the company is the main sponsor of the team’s stadium in Landover, Maryland. The sudden flood of sponsors that came out against the name prompted the organizational review announced on Friday.
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise, but also the contributions of our former students, the organization, the sponsors, the National Football League and the local community that it is proud to represent within and off the pitch, “said Snyder.
George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody in May sparked protests and a national debate on racism. That conversation renewed the calls for Snyder to change the name called “racial slur dictionary” by Native American supporters and experts.
“We have never faced more opportunity and time for this to finally happen,” said Echo Hawk last month.
“Native Americans have worked and fought on this issue for decades, decades and decades, and I really think I am talking to several Native leaders across the country, this is the time. There is really no excuse for this Washington team and the NFL to do the right thing. “
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