Oneida Indian Nation, Redskins issue competing Monday morning press releases

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On the heels of a new bipartisan letter from members of Congress to Commissioner Roger Goodell urging the league to change the name of the Washington Redskins, Oneida Indian Nation and the Redskins have issued a pair of competing press releases.

“The NFL is a publicly subsidized $9 billion-a-year brand with global reach, and it is using those public resources and that brand to promote a dictionary defined racial slur,” Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter said in response the team’s “Doesn’t Congress have anything better to do?” reaction to the letter.  “While the Washington team somehow claims that Congress has better things to do than intervene in a serious issue that involves taxpayer dollars, it is the exact opposite: Congress has a responsibility to the American people to put an end to this kind of taxpayer-subsidized bigotry.  We are thrilled to have these congressional leaders from both parties speaking out on behalf of the ‘Change the Mascot’ campaign and urge them to take immediate action to prevent the league from using any more public resources to promote hatred against Native Americans.”

Coincidentally (or not), the team has unveiled a “community voices” program, which apparently will feature the periodic publication of unsolicited statements of support from Native Americans regarding the name of the franchise.

“Over the past few months, we have received hundreds of letters, calls and emails from self-identified Native Americans in support of the name ‘Washington Redskins,'” the release states.  “Their comments make clear why our team name means so much to them and to so many in the Native American community.

“It is essential for Redskins Nation to know what the majority of Native Americans really think — in their own words — and why it is so important that we listen to their voices on this issue.  We should not turn our back on these Native Americans.  Their voices deserve to be heard.  We want Redskins Nation and the sports world to know what many Native Americans really think and why our name is their source of pride.”

The team contends that, in response to owner Daniel Snyder’s October 2013 letter to fans defending the team name, the organization received more than 7,000 letters and emails of support, with nearly 200 coming from people who identified themselves as Native Americans or family members of Native Americans.  The team claims that only seven letters were received from Native Americans who oppose the team name.

It’s an entirely unscientific exercise, oozing with potential bias and lacking any evidence of vetting.  It also ignores the organized effort against the name, and it also invites Native Americans and others to flood team headquarters with communications opposing the name.

Most importantly, the team’s latest effort continues to confuse the question whether the name is offensive with the question of whether Native Americans are actually offended.  Plenty of people aren’t offended by objectively offensive content.

The biggest risk the team now faces is that its P.R. strategy will offend the intelligence of enough people to prompt an even stronger opposition to the name.

45 responses to “Oneida Indian Nation, Redskins issue competing Monday morning press releases

  1. “It’s an entirely unscientific exercise, oozing with potential bias and lacking any evidence of vetting.”

    Looks like you summed up the entire political process right there in one sentence.

  2. We cannot keep letting people change football at their whem. Change names, change rules, and some outcry to change locker room culture with the Martin case. Group hugs and no bullying. Soon soccer mom minded people will be in charge. Football will be changed to an unrecognizable point, or eliminated all together.

    If you read any news website, when news of concussions appear, many narrow minded and overreactive people are calling for the end of this game.

    This is just another example. When will it end?

  3. Okay, some smart investigator track the money. I’d wager my last dollar that someone associated with the interests of the Washington Redskins has made a sizable donation to someone associated with the interests of the Oneida Nation.

  4. Redskins should give up their name, it offensive on all fronts.
    And start Kirk Cousins, he is obviously better than RG3. At least you could still get at least a 4th round pick for RG3 this year.

  5. There was an independent poll done of native Americans and the results came back the over 75% of them support the Redskins keeping the name and rather than being offended by it, take pride in it. What you have is an extremely small minority who would find a way to take offense at almst anything trying to push their agenda on the overwhelming majority who do not support any change. Also, whoever wrote the release for the Oneida Nation needs to really educate themselves. There is absolutely no taxpayer dollars going to the Redskins or the league. Some teams may play in stadiums that were partially paid for with public bonds, but this is not the case with the Redskins. Also, when this is done it is something that is voted on by the people of that city and is not in any way associated with any federal tax dollar appropriation. As for the Redskins, their stadium was built by Jack Kent Cooke with his own money, there was no taxpayer money, local or otherwise, involved at all. Also, the league itself does not receive a dime in taxpayer funds. The Oneida Nation’s entire argument is based on a lie about taxpayer funds in order to try and support their rationale as to why they and Congress should have the right to demand a name change.

    There is far more support among the native American community for the Redskins to keep their name than there is to change it. Far more native Americans would be hurt if the name were changed than if it remained as is. It is time we told these people who take offense at everything to grw a thicker skin and just go away. The majority is sick of being pushed to yield to these extremely small minorities on the altar of their version of political correctness.

  6. Congress has far more important things to spend their time on. The fact that these two elected representatives seem to feel that this is an issue of such importance that it requires them to take action only serves to demonstrate how screwed up their priorities are. Why not put some effort into finding ways to put Americans back work instead of wasting time with this nonsense.

    It is also clear that the author of this article is biased against the Redskins and supports a name change. If Florio were truly going to be objective he would challenge the fiction that the league is using taxpayer money in any way. The league does not get a dime in appropriations from taxpayer funds. Some teams do play in stadiums built with municipal bond money, but this is voted on and approved locally and funded with local tax dollars, the money does not come from federal tax revenues. And for the record, this is not the case with the Redskins, Jack Kent Cooke built the stadium with his own money.

  7. “…to promote hatred….”

    Yeah, that’s what’s going on here. The Redskins are the 1 team in the NFL whose nickname is to promote hatred – rather than to get their supporters jacked up.

  8. This letter from congress is the very definition of bullying.

    You have to stand up to the bullies in this case because the name is not in fact a slur nor has it ever been.

    What it is, is the misunderstood letting themselves get worked into a panic and therefore spazzing as response. It is utterley irresponsible behavior to try to affect society in a way that is based on a (rather unintelligent) misinformed portion of the public.

    That’s all it is. And the stand against the misinformed must be taken here because the misinformed never stop. They can’t. They’re not capable of reason or logical thinking.

  9. Remember before the Redskins drafted RGIII, and this wasn’t an issue? I don’t live in the D.C. area, but the last time I remember this being an issue was the last time the Redskins were in the Super Bowl. Yes, a long time ago.

  10. It’s an entirely unscientific exercise, oozing with potential bias and lacking any evidence of vetting.

    What about Halbritter’s arguments? How are they not what you are calling the Redskin’s polls?

    In polls taken separately, wasn’t it concluded that something like 80% felt that the name shouldn’t be changed?

    How do you justify telling 8 out of 10 people that they have to deal with what 2 think? That is just illogical.

    Words don’t have power if you don’t let them. And as for dictionary definition, words can mean things to different people. Take the word Randy, here it is a name, in England you say that your name is Randy and you will probably get slapped. A different meaning.

    Anybody trying to force their beliefs on others is wrong. This country is supposed to be above that.

  11. Yeah, have Snyder and his cronies compile and analyze the collective thoughts of native americans on the subject — that will certainly be unbiased and free from manipulation.

  12. Oh yeah a whopping 2 members from Congress…get a life and grip people….if Congress feels this is offensive and racist…then what sayeth thee about a bridge in the National Capital area named after a known klan member and former President??? You don’t think some would find that offensive or a another major road in the DMV area named for a slave owner and fought to keep slavery??? Again I find this argument so silly, I mean if it does then every professional or college team with a native american reference should be offensive i..e Indians, Braves, Blackhawks etc.,

  13. Snyder is an idiot not because he won’t change the team’s name (it’s his team and his money, I get it), he’s an idiot for continuing to stoke the opposition’s fire with his half-clocked, dimwitted response strategy. Not even the dumbest neanderthalic football fan thinks there’s 7,000 letters for the name and only 7 opposition names. Snyder is insulting the opposition’s intelligence and just making them fight harder. If he was smart, he’d get QUIETER each time the issue comes up instead of louder and it will just go by the wayside with every other newscycle.

  14. I am Proud to Be Anishinaabe-Ojibwe-Chippewa, where we call ourselves many things but the one thing we don’t is the R-Word and not proud to be your mascot! We are not your pets, nor trophies. #NotYourMascot #ChangeTheMascot.

  15. The Poll indicated 25% of Native Americans opposed/offended, but this is deemed to be a small minority, as if insignificant. Do we really think that is the case?

    I am in the 75%, but understand and respect the 25% and would vote, if given a chance, to change the name. I really see it as a win/win. Imagine the revenue that would be generated by all the new gear the fans would be buying……

  16. If the vast majority of the group of people who may or may not be offended (i.e., Native Americans) — is not offended — then, let’s cool it. There are a lot more serious things to concern ourselves with.

  17. I love all this phoney outrage. I’m 1/2 Irish and am sooooooooo offended by Notre Dame’s “Fighting Irish”. I think they need to change their name because its demeaning to us Irish folk and am probably going to need some therapy to get over this outrage!!

  18. Just let Congress go after us and our nickname. We’ll stand our ground and that little Danny Snyder boy will too!

  19. I don’t see how a name change solves this issue for those that are offended:
    1. Won’t the offended be offended if they go to Canton and see the bust of Sammy Baugh.
    2. Won’t the offended be offended if they go to the NFL stats and see various records, etc.
    3. Wont the offended be offended if the 83 super bowl is rebroadcast?

    It seems to me that the position of the offended should be a historical redaction of the name including all historic video and audio to effectively “bleep” out or “blot” out the name.

    It seems that any position to simply change the name means that the offended aren’t really all that err… offended.

  20. Native American Activist groups are fighting the mascot issue because it is a smaller component of a much larger (and more important) issue. Simply, who gets to decide what is a Native American? Is it the government with its blood quantum formulas? Is it pop culture — media, cinema, or sports? Or, is it the Native American themselves? Obviously, NA activist groups feel it should be the Native Americans themselves. Are all NA’s aware of what the activist groups are doing and why? Probably not, they are probably dealing with the issues of daily life and do not have the time or inclination to invest very limited amounts of free time to such an issue. Native American groups that have resources carry the fight for all NA’s. Besides, are the people on this site really going to get their panties all bunched if the team changes its name? Is your entertainment — and that is all this is – really more important than identity to a small minority group in the United States that has struggled for recognition and respect? Honestly, many posting here come off as foolish and uninformed about what is happening.

  21. “It also ignores the organized effort against the name, and it also invites Native Americans and others to flood team headquarters with communications opposing the name.”

    Because only “organized efforts against the name” are legitimate? Because organized efforts in the past are always legitimate and always reflective of the actual community they pretend to represent? Do you seriously believe that?

    And why would inviting those who oppose the name to flood team headquarters – or NFL headquarters for that matter – with letters be a bad thing? Wouldn’t that be the exact type of groundswell of complaints that would likely trigger the Redskins/NFL to act?

    Oh. I see. You prefer astroturfing to actual grassroots, when the astroturfing is done on behalf of the position you favor. I get it.

  22. I’m a Giants fan, so it’s cool the Redskins keep fighting this. It has to be a constant distraction. I like the Redskins colors and logo for its ‘old school’ appeal, but if it offends people to the point it’s being fought this hard- just change it! My Gawd! Seems counter-productive to being a winning organization. Perhaps this kind of egotistical stubbornness is why the Redskins can’t get back to the top under Snyder. It’s his ego at this point- and nothing more. They’d sell a ton of merchandise with the new name and logo, so it’s not about money. It’s about a guy who’s loaded, always gets his way, and never had to take no for an answer.

  23. Anyone referring to a poll which supports a name change without knowing who is polled are being mislead (anyone reading this site too).

    If a poll is administered solely to whites you’re going to get varied results. No matter what the name, you’ll have 1/3 of the people who are liberals and will jump up and down demanding that the “said” people are incredibly offended even if they aren’t. It’s called white guilt.

    In life people that are unhappy typically make the most noise. Yet only 3.5% of the letters coming into DC say they dislike the name. Why do white people feel the need to tell all the NA not offended by the name that they should be?

    I think there’s a fair argument to make that whites trying to change the name are more racist than the supporters, in other words people lobbying for the name change truly believe, “You dumb savage, you don’t even know you’re supposed to hate the name!”

  24. Synder should make one more statement This is my team the name will remain the same. As of this moment I will not read listen to anything to do with this subject that is to include congress also.

  25. This is PATHETIC!

    The term “Redskin” has absolutely NOTHING to due with the pigment of skin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It has to do with the PAINT that honorable, powerful warriors put on their face before going into battle. This is INSANE. How about paying attention to the devastation that Congress is imposing on the American people with their “ruling class” mentality? Total, complete, and utter moronic notion that the term “Redskin” is offensive.

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