According to the Washington Post, a coalition of Native American groups plans to send a letter on Thursday to thousands of TV and radio broadcasters in every NFL city reuqesting that they not use the Washington Redskins name in their broadcasts.
More than 100 groups, led by the National Congress of American Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation, also are expected to run radio ads over the weekend in Texas, where the Redskins will play their season opener against the Houston Texans, asking local media outlets not to use “the R-word” when referring to the team.
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So far, Redskins owner Dan Snyder has staunchly defended the team's nickname as a word of respect, honor and tradition. Some have speculated that he never willingly will get rid of the Redskins nickname for the franchise that he purchased in 1999.
Some mainstream media broadcasters who will call and report on NFL games this season — such as NBC's Tony Dungy and ESPN's Lisa Salters — have said they might not say "Redskins" on air. CBS has said it will leave it up to its broadcasters to make individual calls on whether they choose to, and Phil Simms is one who has said he might not.
An exceprt from the letter displays some of the strong language used to implore a change of stance on the issue:
“Every time the slur is promoted on the public airwaves even in a non-critical way by a journalist, it is an endorsement of the continued use of this slur."
The Redskins did not immediately respond to the Post's story.
It's clear that some people's opinions on this story are changing. Not long ago, support for keeping the Redskins nickname — depending on the survey cited — hovered in the 80-to-90-percent range. But recently, other surveys, such as ESPN's recent poll of 286 NFL players shows that the number has come down.
For now, they're still the Redskins. But for how long? The league has been quite quiet on the issue largely, and there are marketing and promotional considerations that likely will keep things status quo for this season, and perhaps beyond. But if that support continues to dwindle and the Native American groups involved in this plea have their voice heard, we could see even more action and impetus for chance.
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