NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A group campaigning for the Washington Redskins to change their name is sending a letter to broadcasters requesting that Redskins not be uttered on the public airwaves.
The letter was released Wednesday and is signed by more than 100 Native American, religious and civil rights organizations. It’s being sent by the Change the Mascot movement headed by the Oneida Indian Nation of New York.
The letter describes “redskin” as a “government-defined racial slur” that has been used to disparage American Indians “throughout history.”
Several prominent broadcasters, including Bob Costas and Phil Simms, have either spoken out against the name or say they don’t intend to use it.
Also Wednesday, the New York Daily News announced it will no longer refer to the team as the “Redskins” on its sports pages. The paper also said it will stop using the team’s Indian-head logo.
“Enormously popular and deeply ingrained in sporting culture, the Redskins name is a throwback to a vanished era of perniciously casual racial attitudes,” the paper said. “No new franchise would consider adopting a name based on pigmentation — Whiteskins, Blackskins, Yellowskins or Redskins — today. The time has come to leave the word behind.”
Redskins owner Dan Snyder says he’ll never change the name. He calls it a source of pride for Native Americans.
“While the team ownership and many fans hold such a belief in good faith, the inescapable truth is that the term Redskin derives solely from the racial characteristic of skin tone in a society that is struggling mightily to be color-blind,” the Daily News said.
The paper said it would only publish the team’s name “in reader letters about the controversy and in quotations in stories about the controversy when a full quotation seems particularly relevant.” It will also appear online — for now — on pages “provided by vendors.”
“Why drop the term now? Why not yesterday or last year? The answer is that, as attitudes evolve, words can move from common parlance to unacceptable in good company,” the paper said.
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