May 29, 2014; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins players helmets rest on the field during organized team activities at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Church calls for members to boycott Washington Redskins' team name

The United Church of Christ’s regional governing body in the Mid-Atlantic agreed to pass a resolution urging its members to boycott all games and gear of the Washington Redskins on Saturday, reports Theresa Vargas of the Washington Post.

The Central Atlantic Conference oversees over 180 congregations with over 40,000 members ranging from Richmond, Va., to New Jersey, covering a significant portion of the Redskins’ prime geographical area. At its annual meeting on Saturday, the group voted unanimously to boycott the Redskins until the team changes its name.

“I hope this debate will continue to draw attention to an unhealed wound in our cultural fabric,” said Conference Minister John Deckenback of the resolution’s passing. “Changing the name of the Washington NFL team will not solve the problems of our country’s many trails of broken promises and discriminatory isolation of our Native American communities. However, a change in the nation’s capital can send a strong message.”

The matter could now potentially be brought to the church’s national governing body, which oversees over 5,100 congregations with roughly a million members.

According to the Post, the team has declined to comment on the matter, but Redskins spokesperson Tony Wyllie discussed the UCC’s position against the name in the past:

“We respect those who disagree with our team’s name, but we wish the United Church of Christ would listen to the voice of the overwhelming majority of Americans, including Native Americans, who support our name and understand it honors the heritage and tradition of the Native American community.”

All of this comes not long after 50 U.S. Senators sent a letter to the Redskins and a California tribe paid to run an anti-Redskins advertisement on national television during the NBA Finals, the Post points out.

With pressure coming from all directions, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the Redskins to claim that a silent majority actually supports the team name. Prominent religious and political institutions have publicly denounced the name and called for change, and it’s getting harder to find people who disagree. The Redskins will need to respond eventually, we’ll see how they choose to do so.

Tags: Washington Redskins

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