The Oneida Indian Nation, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), and the Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC) issued a statement on June 25, regarding the section of the Washington NFL team’s FedEx Field named for avowed segregationist and former team owner George Preston Marshall.
These comments come after the three groups sent a letter this week to FedEx CEO Frederick W. Smith calling on the company to disassociate itself from the team’s offensive R-word moniker and the racist legacy of Marshall. The letter encouraged FedEx, as owner of naming rights to the team’s stadium, to demonstrate its stated commitment to diversity by helping end the team’s use and promotion of a dictionary-defined racial slur.
“The Washington team cannot at once pretend that a racial slur is an honor for Native Americans, and yet also continue to proudly promote the legacy of the infamous segregationist who first used that racial slur as the team’s name,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. “Dan Snyder must explain why for at least a decade he has chosen to memorialize George Preston Marshall. To have a section of FedEx Field named for an avowed segregationist flies in the face of the values of inclusion and diversity that the NFL and FedEx purport to champion.”
The full text of the FedEx letter can be found at the Change the Mascot website.