Native American groups are taking their battle against the Redskins nickname straight to NFL teams, while at the same time enlisting some heavy-hitting assistance as they seek to make their case with the public.
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Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report says the the Oneida Nation and the National Congress of American Indians will team with the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Congress members and several dozen Native American leaders for a Tuesday press conference.
This show of solidarity will come as Native American groups for the first time send letters to each NFL team owner asking that they renounce the Redskins nickname.
The letter, obtained by Bleacher Report, reads in part:
"The NFL today confronts a rising tide of questions about its behavior—from the questions raised by former players facing health problems to questions about the league’s attitude toward domestic violence. Out of all these serious moral questions, the ones about the Washington team’s name should be the simplest for the league to answer. If owners like you finally stand on the right side of history and publicly demand action, the NFL can and will change the team’s name. If the league continues to expect Congress to grant it and its teams special status, the least the American people should be able to expect is a league that refrains from promoting a racial slur against Native Americans."
Some may argue that it’s a little cynical for these groups to take advantage of the NFL’s recent massive PR problems as a means of gaining leverage.
Others will argue that this is just intelligent, if somewhat crassly opportunistic, tactical movement on the part of Native Americans.
We’ll see if this new move helps the fight against the Redskins name gain any more traction with the general public. I can already guess what the response of NFL owners will be to the receipt of this letter.
Something like stone silence.