Change the Mascot Campaign Follows Washington Team to Atlanta with Radio Ads Airing on the Falcons’ Flagship Station

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The Oneida Indian Nation has released a new Change the Mascot radio ad that will air in Atlanta in the lead-up to the Washington NFL team’s Sunday game against the Falcons. Narrated by D.C. Reverend Graylan Hagler, the new “Moral Issue” ad is the latest from the Nation’s growing national campaign to end the D.C. team’s use of the R-word.

It is truly heartening to see religious leaders join the Change the Mascot campaign and recognize that this is more than a civil rights issue, it’s a moral issue.

As Washington’s NFL team heads to Georgia to play the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, they will be faced with a new radio ad calling for the end of their R-word mascot. The Oneida Indian Nation’s Change the Mascot advertisement will air Saturday and Sunday on Atlanta’s WQXI, the flagship station of the Falcons.

In the latest radio spot entitled “Moral Issue,” Washington Reverend Graylan Hagler expresses his obligation as a faith leader to oppose the team’s use of a racial epithet. As Senior Minister at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in D.C., Hagler has spoken out against the D.C. team’s name for more than 20 years.

Hagler mobilized more than 60 D.C. faith leaders who sent a letter last week to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Washington team owner Dan Snyder calling upon the team to change its hurtful mascot.

“It is truly heartening to see religious leaders join the Change the Mascot campaign and recognize that this is more than a civil rights issue, it’s a moral issue,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. “We thank the more than 60 clergy members who have expressed their united opposition to the derogatory R-word, and we hope that their courageous actions will inspire others across the country to do the same.”

Change the Mascot has run similar radio ads in Washington and all other cities where the D.C. NFL team has played road games this season. A growing national movement, the campaign has summoned support from Native American tribes, sports icons, political leaders from both sides of the aisle, and even the President of the United States.

Full audio of the new radio ad and further information about the campaign can be found at

Full text of the “Moral Issue” ad:

HAGLER: “I'm Reverend Graylan Hagler. As a member of the Washington-area clergy, I feel a responsibility to stand up for Biblical principles of love, dignity, respect and compassion. That's why for more than 20 years, I have spoken out against the owners of our city's professional football team for promoting a racial slur against Native Americans.

I was among the 60-plus faith leaders who recently sent letters to the NFL and team owner Daniel Snyder asking them to end the use of the R-word as D.C.’s team name. We joined D.C. political leaders, Members of Congress from both parties, top sports figures, and even the President of the United States in calling to end the usage of this painful epithet.

This is not just a civil rights issue - it is a moral issue and I hope that whatever your religious tradition, you will join the Change the Mascot campaign. Talk to your friends and family, write a letter to the editor, send an email to the NFL or bring a sign to a Washington game. Help us turn the page on this chapter of history, and pursue the path of inclusion and mutual respect. It is time for a change.”

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Brett Stagnitti
Oneida Indian Nation
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