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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Latest Challenge to Name of Washington’s NFL Team Targets Tech Groups

August 7, 2014 - Posted by Patrick McNeil

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Oneida Indian Nation sent letters to Twitter, Facebook, and Google this week, asking that the Washington NFL team’s official, verified accounts be deleted from their sites, according to Slate.

The request was with respect to the sites’ terms of service and community guidelines, all which – to some degree – ban hate speech.

The effort is the latest in a series of setbacks for the team’s name, whose head coach made clear last year that he would “NEVER” change the name – a term he explicitly told USA Today to capitalize.

Last month, the Center for American Progress released a report revealing that offensive mascot names can foster hostile learning environments for American Indian and Alaska Native students, result in lower self-esteem and mental health, and lead to the development of cultural prejudices since the stereotypical depictions are often understood to be true.

In June, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) cancelled six federal trademark registrations for the name of Washington’s football team, saying in a decision that the “registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered.”

Back in May, 50 senators wrote a letter to National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell, urging the team to change its name. That request was denied, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D. Nev., continued to be outspoken on the issue.

Members of Congress aren’t the only individuals opposing the name. Last month, the granddaughter of the team’s founder said the name should change, and in December 2013, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (of which NCAI is a member) voted unanimously at its national board meeting for a resolution urging the team’s owner to change the name.

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