The Oneida Indian Nation and the National Congress of American Indians have launched a telephone campaign asking NFL fans to petition league leaders to change the Washington Redskins nickname, the Oneida Nation announced Thursday.
The campaign will call residents of the Washingon, D.C. metro area and play a prerecorded message from two Washington fans.
"We represent America’s capital; and it’s time we demonstrate our commitment to the ideals of equality and civility," Washington fan Josh Silver says. "Without the name, it’s still D.C. football... You can stay a true fan, and also recognize the need for a mascot that doesn’t alienate and offend."
The other fan on the call is Ian Washburn, who was also featured in a Washington Post article in September.
The call asks people to send letters to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and to Anna Isaacson, the league's VP of social responsibility.
Opposition to the team's nickname is nothing new but has increased dramatically in recent years.
In June, the franchise had its trademark revoked on the grounds that it was "disparaging to Native Americans." The franchise is currently fighting that ruling in court.
A SI poll in September found that only 25 percent of fans thought the name should be changed.
NFL broadcasters used "Redskins" 27 percent less often during telecasts this season, according to a Deadspin study. In September, the FCC said it would consider punishing a Washington radio station for using the nickname. In December it announced that station would not be punished because the name is not profane.
A senator from Washington state also announced she would introduce legislation to strip the NFL of its tax-exempt status as a response to the league's support of the nickname.
Washington owner Dan Snyder infamously told USA TODAY in 2013, "We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps."
Here is the full script of the call:
Ian: Hi, I’m Ian Washburn
Josh: And I’m Josh Silver. We’re lifelong fans of Washington pro football.
Ian: After missing the playoffs again, it’s clear things need to change—including our team’s name.
Josh: Native American tribes, national civil rights organizations, and elected officials from both parties agree. We represent America’s capital; and it’s time we demonstrate our commitment to the ideals of equality and civility.
Ian: Without the name, it’s still D.C. football; still honoring legends like Doug Williams and Joe Gibbs. You can stay a true fan, and also recognize the need for a mascot that doesn’t alienate and offend.
Josh: We’re asking other fans who love the team but hate the name to join us in contacting the NFL’s VP of Social Responsibility Anna Isaacson at 345 Park Ave, New York, NY 10154, or Anna.Isaascon@nfl.com.
Ian: Let’s tell her and Commissioner Goodell that even D.C.’s fans want a new mascot. Remember, the name was devised by former owner George Preston Marshall, an avowed racist and segregationist. Let’s do the right thing, turn the page, and ensure our future legacy is one of pride and respect.
- Dan Gartland