For Rick Reilly’s Eyes Only: NY Indian Tribe REALLY Offended By Redskins’ Name

  • Jake O'Donnell

“When one of the most valuable franchises in the NFL is using a racial epithet, how do you explain that to children?” Oneida Indian Nation Ray Halbritter asked. “How do you explain how it makes you feel as a human being?”

Um, you say “badly?” “Sad,” maybe?

In case you missed it, ESPN columnist and outspoken Dad at a BBQ Rick Reilly wrote a piece last month, detailing how his wife was part Native American, and her family was proud of the “Redskins” name. He then went on to unnecessarily cite some statistics about how a town that is 92% Native American doesn’t have a problem with their high school team being called “The Redskins,” in an attempt to make the point that the name isn’t wrong if some people aren’t bothered by it.

We were bothered by it.

And, apparently, some of America’s native people’s are also bothered by it.

Halbritter, who said he was a fan of the team when he was an ironworker in Washington, said the issue is important to Indians in New York and elsewhere because the name is degrading and has devastating effects. Before they focused on the NFL, the Oneidas earlier this year gave $10,000 toward new jerseys to the high school in Cooperstown that changed its nickname from the Redskins to the Hawkeyes.

“We cannot allow the use of these cruel, injurious, hateful stereotypes to be continued to be used,” said U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota, who plans to speak to the meeting either in person or from her home district, depending on Congress’ schedule.

Halbritter said symposium speakers also will include a psychological expert on the effects of discrimination on children and the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

“We are not going to go away,” Halbritter said. “This is not going to stop until the name is changed.”

Members of the Oneida Nation are pushing radio ads and holding seminars and discussions to influence Dan Synder into changing the name. (In case you’re wondering, the socio-political force of nature that is SportsGrid has already settled on a new name for the franchise, thanks to some pretty awesome reader submissions.)

H/T The AP