Tonight, the NFL season gets underway, and over the next few months fans of all races will be in the stands waving signs in support of their teams. The Oneida Indian Nation (OIN) has another idea: While you're cheering your squad to victory, cheer for the NFL and the Washington franchise to do the right thing.
To that end, OIN has launched changethemascot.org, a site that will offer football fans ideas and tools to further the cause. The first of these is a high-resolution .pdf sign (seen above) that can be downloaded from the site's "Take Action" page. Organizers suggest dispaying the sign at games, or in the home or workplace.
"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," said Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. 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."
The campaign also involves a radio ad, featuring Halbritter, that will play in the Washington, DC area and in cities where the team is playing road games on any given Sunday. "We hope that when NFL fans across the country hear these radio ads in advance of their teams’ games with the Washington franchise, they will speak out and tell the NFL to do the right thing," Halbritter said. "The time has come for a change – one that lives up to the ideals of mutual respect."