New Change the Mascot Ad Highlights Bipartisan Opposition to the Racist Name of Washington’s NFL Team

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As part of its Change the Mascot campaign, the Oneida Indian Nation of New York today released its fourth in a series of nationwide radio advertisements - this one featuring audio clips of President Obama and senior Republican Congressman Tom Cole criticizing the Washington team name. The ad notes that at a time when Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided, leaders in both parties are agreeing that the team must consider changing its name.*

A professional football team should not be promoting a racial slur.

As the Washington football team heads to Texas this week, a radio ad entitled “Bipartisan” will air Saturday and Sunday on Dallas/Ft.Worth's KRLD-FM, the flagship station of the rival Dallas Cowboys. Part of the growing Change the Mascot campaign, additional ads will continue to air through the NFL season in Washington and all other cities where the team plays road games.

“A growing number of critics are speaking out on this issue, including the President of the United States, senior members of Congress from both parties, civil rights leaders, public health organizations, and Native American tribes," said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. "Collectively they represent millions of people and they all understand why a professional football team should not be promoting a racial slur.”

Many such leaders met earlier this week in Washington for a Change the Mascot symposium timed to coincide with the NFL Fall League Meeting.** The event drew a standing-room only crowd, helped educate the public, and placed the issue of Washington's divisive team name at the forefront of a national conversation on the topic.

Since then, NFL representatives have agreed to meet with the Oneida Indian Nation in the coming weeks to discuss the growing Change the Mascot movement and its opposition to the Washington team name.***

Text of the “Bipartisan” ad:

NARRATOR: At a moment when President Obama and Republican leaders remain deeply divided, this week saw them come to a bipartisan agreement on one thing: It is time for Washington's NFL team to stop using a racial slur and to finally change its name. Here is what President Obama said of the team's current name:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: "I’d think about changing it."

NARRATOR: Senior Republican congressman Tom Cole then joined the president in demanding a change. He told a national television audience:

TOM COLE: "The name is just simply inappropriate, it is offensive to a lot of people."

RAY HALBRITTER: "Hi, I'm Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Indian Nation. This country may still be politically divided, but as leaders of both parties this week said, we should all be able to agree that racial slurs are unacceptable, and they shouldn't be used to market this country's capital city. As Native people who heard this painful slur when we were taken at gunpoint off our lands, we aren't asking for anything more than basic respect. We don't deserve to be treated to racial slurs. We deserve to be treated simply as what we are: Americans."

*GOP Rep. backs President Obama on Redskins name change, 10/7/13,
**Native Americans Tackle Redskins at Press Conference, 10/8/13,
***NFL says it will meet with Oneida Indian tribe about Redskins name, 10/8/13,

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Joel Barkin
Oneida Indian Nation
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