There was a lot happening in the world of sports last week (NBA finals, Stanley Cup, World Cup opening game, etc.) but one of the most moving and interesting moments happened when The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation bought airtime and ran a two-minute ad during the NBA finals, protesting the Redskins football mascot.
The ad aired in seven major cities during halftime of the NBA Finals Game 3. The one-minute spot criticizes the Washington Redskins football team name and mascot, and calls for it to be changed. The group also posted an extended two-minute version of the “Proud to Be” video to YouTube, which was produced by the National Congress of American Indians in January.
The spot, which the Californian tribe told the Washington Post was a “significant investment,” ran in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington, and ran in Miami during Game 2. “It’s just a time to get people thinking about putting an end to outward hatred and using sports as a tool to focus on racism,” Marshall McKay, chairman of the Yocha Dehe Wintun tribal council, said in a video explaining the tribe’s involvement.
Team officials have always maintained that the name is not disparaging and that many Native Americans support it. But the argument has exploded lately, with 50 US senators writing to the NFL commissioner asking that the name be changed. A Washington Post poll from last year ago found that 61 percent of Washingtonians like the team’s name, with two-thirds saying that the team should not change it. Likewise, a national poll conducted by the Associated Press this January found that 83 percent of respondents agreed that the team should not change its name. But does it matter what the general public thinks? Shouldn’t we be listening to the people offended by the name?
“We applaud the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation for having the vision and commitment to ensure that the American public receives the message loud and clear that Native Americans strongly oppose the use of this disparaging slur,” NCAI Executive Director Jackie Pata and Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said in a joint statement. “By airing this ad during the NBA Championships, this message for change will be brought into the living rooms of millions of American all across the country.”
If you think Washington should change their football mascot, sign the Care2 petition asking owner Daniel Snyder to do so.
Source: Washington Post