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Pressure Builds on Washington Redskins to Change Name

The Oneida Indian Nation announced Thursday that it will launch an advertising campaign to urge the Washington Redskins team to change its name, which is deemed offensive by Native Americans.

According to the tribe based in central New York, the first ads will air on sports radio in Washington, D.C. prior to the Redskin’s season-opening game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The ads will appeal to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, asking him to “do the right thing” by supporting the campaign.

“As a proud sponsor of the NFL, we are concerned that the NFL’s continued use of such an offensive term is undermining its position as a unifying force in America,” Oneida Nation representative Ray Halbritter said in a news release. “America is a society that values mutual respect. Using a slur and making a mascot out of our indigenous culture has no place in such a society. We believe that with the help of our fellow professional football fans, we can get the NFL to realize the error of its ways and make a very simple change.”

Back in June, Goodell defended the Redskins organization and its name in a letter to 10 members of Congress.

“The Washington Redskins name has thus from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context,” he wrote in the letter. “For the team’s millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America’s most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder went on record with USA TODAY Sports in May. “We’ll never change the name,” he said. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

More details on this story to come as they unfold.

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