As the Super Bowl prepares to come to New York, the lingering fight against the Redskins’ nickname will get there a few days early.
Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter will meet Friday with the United Nations’ Human Rights Office regarding the issue.
“I am both humbled and heartened by the opportunity to have a dialogue with the UN regarding the important moral, human, and civil rights issues raised by the Washington NFL team’s continued use of the R-word racial slur,” Halbritter said in a news release. “It is extremely encouraging to see people across the country, as well as national and international leaders, recognizing the harmful impacts of using this term that denigrates Native peoples.”
The UN has no actual power to do anything, but the expansion of the debate could place more cumulative pressure on the team and the league to take action. It also could increase awareness of the issue, which could in turn strengthen the opposition to the name.
“This issue is not going away until the offensive name is retired,” said Halbritter. “It’s time for the NFL and Washington’s team to stop profiting from the continued use of a dictionary-defined racial slur and to place themselves on the right side of history by changing this offensive name.”
If the issue generates interest and opposition on an international basis, the NFL could at some point become concerned that it will impair the efforts to grow the sport globally. If/when the nickname begins to take a dent out of the league’s revenue stream (whether domestic or abroad) the league will find a way to nudge the team toward changing it.