The Native American Oneida tribe in upstate New York became the latest group to call for the NFL's Washington Redskins to change their nickname, this time using a radio ad campaign to spread the message.
Oneida Nation representative Ray Halbritter called for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to "stand up to bigotry" by denouncing "the racial slur" in the Washington Redskins name.
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"We do not deserve to be called redskins," the Oneida leader said in the ad. "We deserve to be treated as what we are — Americans."
In May, 10 members of Congress sent a letter to Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder urging him to change the name of team, according to the Washington Post.
Led by American Somoa Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, others joining the effort include fellow representatives and co-chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus: Tom Cole of Oklahoma; Betty McCollum of Minnesota; Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona; Gwen Moore of Wisconsin; Michael M. Honda of California, Donna M. Christensen, Virginia Islands; Zoe Lofgren and Barbara Lee, both of California; and Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia.
That letter argued that "Native Americans throughout the country consider the 'R-word' a racial, derogatory slur akin to the 'N-word' among African Americans or the 'W-word' among Latinos."
Snyder has in the past shot down even a discussion on the subject, saying that the team will never change its name.
"I think it’s a non-issue and it’s been a non-issue for decades," Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen told the Post back in May.
In June, Goodell defended the name in a response letter to the Congressmen, ESPN.com reported.
"For the team's millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America's most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect," Goodell said in his letter.
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The Oneida tribe said the first ad will run Sunday and Monday on several stations in Washington. The ad buys will continue during Washington home games and in the cities hosting the team when it is away. A spokesman for the Oneidas would not divulge the cost of the ads.
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