New Oneida Indian Nation Ad Calls on Washington Team Owner to Create Legacy of Tolerance and Mutual Respect for His Team and the NFL

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Radio ads will begin running this weekend urging Washington’s NFL team owner Dan Snyder to be on the right side of history and change the team’s offensive name. Airing on WJFK and WPGC in Washington, D.C. in the run-up to Washington’s home game against the Chicago Bears, the radio spots are part of the Oneida Indian Nation’s Change the Mascot campaign, which continues to gather support all across the nation.

Mr. Snyder has the opportunity to make a positive and defining decision regarding both his legacy and the legacy of Washington’s NFL team.

New radio ads airing this weekend in Washington encourage Dan Snyder, the owner of Washington’s NFL team, to put himself and his franchise on the right side of history by choosing a legacy of inclusion and mutual respect. The ad, titled “Legacy,” is being released in the run-up to Sunday’s game between Washington and the Chicago Bears and will air on D.C. stations WJFK and WPGC.

The new ad points out some of the unfortunate aspects of the Washington NFL team’s history, including the fact that former team owner George Preston Marshall was an outspoken segregationist who chose a derogatory slur as the team’s name. Washington was also the last team in the NFL to bring African American players onto its squad.*

Newly compiled polling data released earlier this week indicates that the vast majority of Washington area residents (73%) say their support for the team would either continue or actually increase following a name change. An overwhelming majority of those polled (77%) also believe that Snyder should meet face-to-face with Native Americans who have expressed concern over his team's continued use of a racist epithet for a name. The Oneida Indian Nation has invited Snyder to meet at their homelands to discuss the hurtful nature of the team’s name.

"Mr. Snyder has the opportunity to make a positive and defining decision regarding both his legacy and the legacy of Washington’s NFL team,” said Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter. “We sincerely hope that he will embrace the American ideals of tolerance and respect, and choose to be remembered for standing on the right side of history.”

The latest advertisement is part of the Oneida Indian Nation’s growing Change the Mascot campaign, which is airing similar ads through the season in Washington and all cities where the team plays road games.

Text of the “Legacy” ad:

NARRATOR: For all of its storied history, Washington's NFL team will unfortunately always remain in the history books as the last team to permit integration. That opposition to basic equality was the legacy of former Washington team owner George Preston Marshall, who was one of America's most famous and outspoken segregationists. His racism indelibly harmed Washington D.C.'s image. Not surprisingly, he was the same person who decided to use a racial slur as the team's name. And unfortunately today, the team's new owner, Dan Snyder, is still choosing to use that racial slur. But it doesn't have to be this way.

RAY HALBRITTER: Hi, I'm Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Indian Nation. As a proud longtime NFL sponsor, our Indian tribe wants the NFL to be on the right side of history in the fight against racism. Washington's team current owner now has a chance to reject the segregationist legacy of his predecessor and make sure his team is no longer one of history's most powerful symbols of bigotry. We know Washington fans do not mean to offend Native Americans, so by changing his team's name Mr. Snyder can create a better historical legacy for himself, for his team and for the NFL - one of tolerance and mutual respect, not of racial epithets. As Native people's we don't want to be treated to such painful epithets. We just want to be treated as what we are: Americans.

*A 'Showdown' That Changed Football's Racial History, NPR, 9/4/11,

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Joel Barkin
Oneida Indian Nation
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