The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

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The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Civil Rights Groups Urge Washington to Change Football Team Name

December 18, 2013 - Posted by Patrick McNeil

At its annual meeting last week, The Leadership Conference passed a resolution calling for the Washington Redskins to change its name, saying it “cannot in any reasonable way be viewed as honoring the culture or historical legacy of any particular Native American tribe or individual.” The resolution also urged state, local, and federal governments to break association with the franchise.

“This is not someone else’s problem, this is everyone’s problem. Having an offensive slur for the Washington team name teaches young people to celebrate the denigration of people for being who they are,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference. “That has a damaging psychic impact on individuals, as well as on the entire nation. Changing the name is the right thing do, regardless of how comfortable fans have become with it. And when Mr. Snyder does decide to put the slur away, I think he’ll discover a new market of consumers who recognize the dignity of all people and want to honor that with the sports teams they support.”

The resolution notes that the term 'redskin' is historically derogatory and compares it to slurs against LGBT, African-American, disability, and other communities that are no longer acceptable to use.

“By recognizing the ongoing disparagement of American Indian and Alaska Natives and asking the NFL to change the name of the D.C. franchise, The Leadership Conference reconfirms its commitment to fighting for equal rights for Native peoples," said Jacqueline Johnson Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). "Passing this resolution at their annual meeting further proves that The Leadership Conference is fully behind this work and NCAI is proud and happy to have them on our team.”

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