As expected, NFL executives met Wednesday with representative of the Oneida Indian Nation. As reported elsewhere (and as PFT has confirmed), the league was represented by senior V.P. Adolpho Birch and executive Vice Presidents Jeff Pash (legal) and Paul Hicks (P.R.).
“We met at the request of Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Nation,” the league said in a statement released to PFT. “We listened and respectfully discussed the views of Mr. Halbritter, Oneida Nation Wolf Clan Representative Keller George and their colleagues as well as the sharply differing views of many other Native Americans and fans in general. The meeting was part of an ongoing dialogue to facilitate listening and learning, consistent with the Commissioner’s comments earlier this year.”
That last part underscores the reality that the two sides currently are at an impasse. The NFL and the Redskins don’t plan to change the name of the team, but they plan to listen. And the Oneida Indian Nation plans to keep talking.
The real question is whether the NFL and the Redskins will cry uncle before or after the Oneida Indian Nation decides to move on. The wild card here will be whether any of the other 565 federally-recognized sovereign Native American nations joins the Oneida at the front lines of this debate.