Change the Mascot Responds to News that Washington NFL Team Will Play in London

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Following news today that the Washington’s NFL team will play a game in London next season, Change the Mascot has released the following statement.

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Following news today that the Washington’s NFL team will play a game in London next season,* Change the Mascot leaders National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jackie Pata and Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter released the following statement in response:

“At a time when the United States is desperately trying to fortify its international relationships, the NFL has decided to go on the world stage and promote an ugly racial epithet slurring indigenous people all over the world. This is not only offensive, but also at odds with American interests across the globe at this critical time. We need to show respect to our foreign allies — the NFL choosing to slur people of color at a high-profile international event does the opposite. 

“The NFL is a $9-billion-a-year enterprise that plays a critical role in shaping the perceptions and views of millions of fans in America and around the globe, that is why in 2014, the United Nations Special Rapporteur called the Washington NFL team name offensive and encouraged the team to change the team name. If the NFL wants to be a global brand that contributes to the positive image of the United States across the world, it should not be choosing to send a team represented by a racial slur to London.” 

Change the Mascot is a grassroots campaign that works to educate the public about the damaging effects on Native Americans arising from the continued use of the R-word. This civil and human rights movement has helped reshape the debate surrounding the Washington team’s name and brought the issue to the forefront of social consciousness. Since its launch, Change the Mascot has garnered support from a diverse coalition of prominent advocates including elected officials from both parties, Native American tribes, sports icons, leading journalists and news publications, civil and human rights organizations and religious leaders.

*Redskins to play in London next season, 11.25.15,

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Joel Barkin
since: 09/2013
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