Several thousand people protested the name of Washington’s football team at a Minnesota Vikings home game recently. In doing so, they joined a growing movement in our country demanding that the team be renamed.
Following the lead of Native Americans, a broad coalition is emerging in support of such a move. The campaign is having some effect. After pressure from many sides, including the Native American Caucus in Congress, The U.S. Patent Office, for example, appropriately cancelled the team’s trade mark.
The FCC is now being petitioned to ban TV stations from saying the name as indecent content. The FCC’s head Tom Wheeler agrees that the name is inappropriate.
So does the editorial board of the Washington Post who decided the name conflicts with its editorial policy.
This year members of Congress have also demanded the NFL join the call. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid gathered names from 50 members of the Senate in a letter calling on the NFL to support the name change.
They’ve taken strong issue with NFL head Roger Goodall’s absurd claim that the name “honors” Native Americans. Some lawmakers are looking to challenge the NFL’s tax exempt status if it refuses.
President Obama too has lent his voice to those calling for change.
Washington’s owner, Daniel Synder, however, refuses so far to budge, carrying on a long and sad history of racist policy by the franchise. Its original owner, George Preston Marshall, was an ardent segregationist. The football team was the last in the NFL to integrate.
More pressure is clearly needed. Let’s be clear, the Washington team’s name is a racial slur pure and simple. There’s no getting around that. Peoplesworld.org also pledges not to use it.
We urge our readers to sign and circulate the petition to change the team’s name. The time to act is now.
Photo: Patric Schneider/AP