By USA Today Sports, Erik Brady
A Washington Redskins helmet sits on the bench before an NFL football game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys in Landover, Md., Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016.
Nine civil rights groups and racial justice organizations today announced joint opposition to the Washington NFL team potentially locating a new stadium in Washington, D.C., unless the club agrees to change its controversial team name.
The coalition said in a news release that it has previously denounced the term “Redskins” as racially offensive but felt compelled to speak out again as the team considers possible sites for a potential new stadium.
“In 2018, no other people of color must confront the harm and ridicule levied by a sports team whose name refers to the color of their skin,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. “It is long past time that the NFL and its Washington franchise throw this dictionary-defined racial slur into the dustbin of history, where it belongs.”
The coalition includes Advancement Project, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Demos, Faith in Action, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Congress of American Indians, National Urban League, Race Forward, and UnidosUS.
“The R-word is the moral equivalent of the N-word,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “It packs the same level of bigotry and insensitivity for Native Americans as any other racial slur. We cannot tolerate the NFL’s continued commitment to normalizing this demeaning characterization of Native Americans.”
Jacqueline Pata, Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians, expressed gratitude for the support of the other organizations.
“We thank our racial equity colleagues for locking arms in solidarity with Indian Country as we grow this decades-long movement to eradicate offensive Native-themed mascots from the sports landscape once and for all,” she said. “We call on D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. City Council to stand firm in its stated opposition to the team relocating to the District as long as it retains its current name and mascot.”