Representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation and NFL officials will meet next week in New York City to talk about the on-going “Redskins” name-change controversy.
The meeting between the two groups was originally scheduled for the end of November, but the league asked to meet earlier, when the Nation held its “Change the Mascot” campaign symposium at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, D.C. That press conference, on October 7th, urged the NFL, whose fall conference was held in the same hotel, to drop the name.
Now, Oneida Nation spokesman Joel Barkin and NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed that the meeting is scheduled for Wednesday. According to USA Today, no location has been set. And McCarthy did not say if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would attend, only that “senior NFL executives” would be there.
When the meeting was first announced earlier this month, Ray Halbritter, CEO of the Oneida Indian Nation, told The Washington Post, “They know that we’re not going away,” and said that a meeting with the NFL was “a move in the right direction.” The Nation recently put out several “Change the Mascot” radio ads explaining just how offensive the team name is to Native Americans. Those ads are running in Denver, a day before the "Redskins" play the Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Halbritter also told ESPN.com, that he hopes the team makes the right decision and changes the name.
"This is a defined term," Halbritter said. "It is derogatory, offensive and is a racial epithet. This is the word that was used when people were forced off their land at gunpoint when the motto was, 'Kill the Indian, save the man.'"
The NFL has adopted a position that defends the team’s name, but also expressed willingness to listen to those who say it is derogatory. Dan Snyder, the team’s owner, has said that he will “never” change the name, but said he respected the feelings of those offended by it.
No word yet on whether Snyder will attend this meeting.