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D.C. clergy join tribes in pressuring Redskins to change team name They say the name is `offensive and inappropriate'

  • McClatchy Washington Bureau
  • Published Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, at 12:02 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, at 12:08 p.m.

Indian tribes are getting a boost from more than 60 members of the clergy in urging the Washington Redskins to change their name, with a new radio ad running in advance of the team's Sunday home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The clergy members, all from the Washington, D.C., region, signed a letter to the National Football league and Redskins owner Dan Snyder, making the formal request to change "the offensive and inappropriate name."

The letter is highlighted in an ad that will air on Washington's WTOP-FM (103.5) and WPRS Praise-FM (104.1) stations this weekend.

Tribes welcomed the support.

"These clergy leaders have sent a powerful message to the NFL that no group deserves to be treated as the target of a hurtful racial slur, and that Native Americans should be treated as what we are: Americans," said Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter.

The radio spot is part of the Oneida Indian Nation's "Change the Mascot" campaign. It has aired similar ads in Washington and other cities where the team has played this year.

Last month, tribal members pressed the issue with President Barack Obama. And they want Congress to strip the team of its official team trademark, which would prevent the team from holding exclusive rights to sell shirts, caps or other merchandise that uses the "Redskins" name.

Obama told the Associated Press in October that he would consider changing the name if he owned the team.

"If I were the owner of the team and I knew that the name of my team, even if they've had a storied history, that was offending a sizable group of people, I'd think about changing it," the president said.

Snyder has said he has no interest in changing the name and that a majority of the team's fans are with him.


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