Sports

Washington Will Face Protests Over ‘Redskins’ Name Before Monday Night Football In Dallas

CREDIT: AP

Native American protester outside Washington's game in Dallas in 2013.

Washington’s football team will face another protest at a road game Monday night, this time in Dallas, where Native Americans from across Texas are expected to gather outside AT&T Stadium before its Monday Night Football matchup with the Cowboys.

Washington faced similar protests in Dallas last season, when about two dozen demonstrators showed up to call on the team to dump its “Redskins” name. They have faced protests this season in other cities like Houston and Arizona, where more than a hundred people carried signs and called for a name change. According to Indian Country Today Media Network, at least 75 people are expected to show up for this protest, which is organized by Juan Mancias of the Corrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas and Yoloda Blue Horse, a local Native American activist. The protest is affiliated with the national Change The Mascot campaign, led by the Oneida Indian Nation and the National Congress of American Indians, that organized to push for a name change last year.

“When we all stand together as one, we also honor those before us and those to come after us,” Blue Horse said in a release. “The continued use of this negative word is not only derogatory, but it is offensive and we demand that the owner, Dan Snyder, stop using this racist word to promote his football organization.”

Though the fight to change the name, which opponents call a “dictionary-defined slur,” has been somewhat overshadowed by other major controversies in the NFL this season, the efforts against it have continued. In addition to protests in Houston and Arizona, the campaign has continued running radio ads and organized a press conference with lawmakers in Washington, where Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said she would introduce legislation targeting the NFL’s tax-exempt status if it continued to promote the name. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeals Board also invalidated six of the team’s federal trademark protections in June, and the team is currently appealing that decision. The name could soon be the subject of scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission after a George Washington University law professor filed a petition against it.

Last week, the Change the Mascot campaign announced that it would send letters to schools across the country asking them to adopt “restrictive and educational policies” about the name’s use as a slur. The letter cites psychological and sociological research showing that use of the name has harmful effects on Native American children (the letter was sent to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.

The protests could only intensify in the next few weeks. Washington’s next game is Sunday in Minnesota, where activists staged a large protest against the name last season and Gov. Mark Dayton (D) has spoken out against it. More protests are planned before this year’s meeting. The Vikings are temporarily playing home games at the University of Minnesota’s football stadium, and in August, the university said that it was working with the Vikings to “eliminate the use of Washington’s team name in promotional and game date materials and public address announcements.” The school also asked Washington to wear throwback uniforms that do not include the team’s name or logo.

The team has gotten some support in Dallas from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who said last week that the name is “a great part of the tradition of the league,” and that “they should keep it.”