20,000 signatures reached
To: Dan Snyder, Roger Goodell, James Pitaro, Mark Silverman, Mary Ann Turcke, David Berson, Pete Bevacqua, Joe Bozich, Rajesh Subramaniam, Michel Doukeris, Brian Moynihan, Ramon Laguarta, Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, Susan Wojcicki
#NotYourMascot — Change the Name and Mascot of the Washington R*dsk*ns
Co-Written by Troy Amlee (Standing Rock Sioux) & Christopher Kilner
The Washington Football team says they will "undergo a thorough review of the team's name" but makes no mentions of two important points: (1) They still refuse to consult the Native American organizations and leaders, especially women leaders, who have pushed for this for decades; (2) They make no mention of the mascot or logos. All racist imagery, not just the name, must go along with the name! And we state this clearly in our petition below, of which a few organizations (Nike) have complied!
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It is past time that the Washington Football Team retired its derogatory name and racist imagery—Redskins—to history with the other racist and dehumanizing terms and mascots of our past.
As the commissioner of the league, the executives of the broadcast networks which carry the games, the corporate sponsors of the franchise, and the executives of the social media platforms for the team, you have the power to bring about the change and justice that this nation and its Native American peoples deserve. Until Daniel Snyder understands the pain, oppression, and hate this racist term brings Native Americans and changes the name, we call upon you to boycott the team and its name as outlined:
NFLshop, Nike, and Fanatics—cease advertising and selling products with this racist name and logo
FedEx, Bud Light, Bank of America, and Pepsi—suspend corporate sponsorship
ESPN, NFL Network, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, and NBC Sports—discontinue the use of the term “Washington Redskins” and their logo in broadcast, and discontinue the term and logo in all other media from articles to advertisements
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube—suspend the Washington Football Teams social media accounts under violation of racist and derogatory term use, and suspend all advertisements for the team until the name and logo are changed
And to Daniel Snyder—when you do agree to change the name and logo, consult Native American and indigenous leaders to choose a new name and logo which actually honors native history and heritage, by not appropriating any of it for your team!
Why is this important?
The Washington Redskins exposed their hypocrisy recently while tweeting out on #BlackoutTuesday in support of #BlackLivesMatter while continuing to profit off of a racist and derogatory name—Redskins—and a caricature logo of Native Americans. Borne out of a genocidal past, the term “Redskin,” is a word dripping with contempt, racism, and a quite literal reference to blood; advertisements were placed in newspapers on behalf of governments and institutions perpetuating the genocide of indigenous peoples using this term—for example, from the The Winona Daily Republican in Minnesota:
“The State reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory. This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of the Red River are worth.”
While the team may claim that the term is used to honor the purported Native American ancestry of its one-time coach William “Lone Star” Dietz, the team knows full well that the name was changed to Redskin to avoid issues with the Boston Braves baseball team. Further, after an investigation, Dietz was found to have fraudulently posed as indigenous—the name of the football team only dishonors in many ways.
Snyder argues that the term is one of honor and of benign origins—it is not. Native American leaders and peoples have been fighting to have the name changed across society, and have succeeded but in this one place. Since 1898, the term has been defined as one used contemptuously. If the Washington Football Team had to change the fight song for racist illusions, why not change the name? To claim that the term “redskins” honors Native Americans defies logic—no one would think to claim that, for example, a football team named for the confederacy honors African Americans. Other teams are named after animals (Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears), after numbers (San Francisco 49ers), or after empowering, flattering, mythic characters (New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans). In short, a racial slur has no place in the NFL's lineup.
Academic studies continue to show that the name and mascot do not honor Native Americans; to the contrary, the term leads to “lower self-esteem, lower community worth, less capacity to generate achievement-related possible selves, and greater levels of negative effect” amongst Native American youth, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and oppression. The term, with its contemptuous nature, further builds a gap between native and non-native cultures, contributing to intergenerational trauma and continued racism. Leaders, historians, psychologists, and social scientists have concluded that “Native mascots are part of a much larger web of phenomena that contribute to oppression faced by Native Americans and thus it seems clear that these mascots should be eliminated.” While it should be clear, some people seem to be unwilling to see the continued consequences.
Everytime the Washington team takes the field, the Redskins name conjures images of brutality. The Washington Redskins, the NFL, the media, and sponsors must discontinue profiting off of a racist trope. Native Americans are not mascots, they are people and are still here. Daniel Snyder cannot continue to muzzle and whitewash a people and history.
Words have power. Symbols have power. It is time the media and sponsors cease their complicity in this cultural genocide, and stand with justice—boycott the name until the name changes.