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Native American group Oneida Nation on Thursday sent a letter to CBS, asking the network not to use the Washington Redskins’ name if the team advances to the Super Bowl.
“We are requesting that CBS right now commit to refrain from using the name of the Washington professional football franchise in its broadcast, because that name is a dictionary-defined racial slur,” reads the letter. It is signed by Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter and Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians.
The letter asks CBS to “make sure its airwaves are not used as a weapon of bigotry against the network’s diverse audience” and says the request is critical considering the Super Bowl’s global audience. The letter is part of a Change the Mascot campaign and was sent to multiple CBS executives.
Halbritter points out that CBS sportscaster James Brown has said the team should change its name, and CBS’ Greg Gumbel and Phil Simms do not use the team’s name during their broadcasts.
The Change the Mascot campaign is also working with people in Europe to highlight their concern with the team’s name. The NFL recently announced the Washington football team will play next year at Wembley Stadium in London. The letter refers to this as a “highly irresponsible move of proudly promoting a racial slur on the international stage.”
“We are hopeful that CBS will honor its own venerable legacy by doing what it can to make sure the program is respectful and civil — and is not used as a platform to promote bigotry,” stated Halbritter.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to CBS for comment.
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