External pressure is building on the Washington franchise to change its name. The National Congress of American Indians hopes to create internal pressure for change.
Via Washingtonian.com, NCAI president Fawn Sharp made a direct plea for players on the team to initiate the push to replace the dictionary-defined slur.
“I am calling for members of the NFL franchise in Washington, D.C., to rise to the occasion and become heroes,” Sharp and Matthew Randazzo V write. “All I ask is that you state the unequivocal moral truth: just as you would never play for the Washington [insert any other racial slur], you will no longer play for any team branded with a racial slur against Native Americans.
“As long as that team name stands, players of conscience should sit at home rather than wear the NFL equivalent of the Confederate flag.
“Who is brave enough to walk out of the locker room of Washington, D.C.’s National Football League franchise and into the history books?
“What athlete is bold enough, selfless enough to say that he will sacrifice his own well-being to stand up for the millions of Native Americans, and hundreds of Tribal Nations, that are everyday insulted and dehumanized by his employers’ brand name racial slur?”
Although the franchise is short on superstars, the team has several players who could move the needle when it comes to changing the name. From Adrian Peterson to Ryan Kerrigan to Dwayne Haskins to rookie Chase Young, a comment from any of them would resonate, loudly. Regardless of who it is that takes a stand, Sharp and Randazzo issues a general plea to all players “to add their names to those of Muhammad Ali and Colin Kaepernick, who exchanged transient athletic stardom for historic glory.”
With the NFL saying and doing nothing and the team saying and doing nothing (other than erasing the name and legacy of George Preston Marshall from existence), maybe the only ones who can make it happen are the players. Sharp wants them to refuse to play; a good first step would be to simply stand up and say, “This name needs to go.”