To date, the political aspect of the challenge to the name of the Washington NFL franchise has focused on applying pressure to owner Daniel Snyder specifically and the rest of the NFL generally.
Now, an effort apparently has begun to pressure individual owners not named Daniel Snyder.
Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) has sent a letter to Vikings owner Zygi Wilf urging him “to not remain silent on this matter any longer.”
“NFL franchises split the sales of their licensed merchandise equally,” McCollum writes. “As you well know, when a shirt, cap, or jersey bearing the Washington team name is sold, the Minnesota Vikings share in the profit from that sale. After yesterday’s decision, NFL owners must now ask themselves if they want to continue to profit from a name so hurtful to our Native American brothers and sisters that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office deemed it ineligible for federal protection. By taking a stand to change the mascot, you can send a very clear message to Native Americans and all Americans that your organization no longer wishes to benefit from the commercialization of that hateful slur.”
Assuming that McCollum’s contention regarding shared merchandising revenue is accurate (we’ll ask the league whether it is), she has a decent point. If all owners profit from the use of the name, all owners are complicit in its ongoing use in the face of mounting public, political, and legal opposition.
Other owners primarily if not exclusively have remained silent on the issue, neither expressing support or condemnation. On the former, their silence is arguably deafening. Still, the needle won’t move until one or more of them choose to speak out.
The chances of that happening are roughly equivalent to the chances of Snyder changing the name without the NFL and other owners privately nudging him to do so.