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NFL Players Asked to Support "Redskin" Name Change // Letter Follows Letter From 50 U.S. Senators
In a letter to more than 2,700 NFL players, the athletes are being asked to lend their “powerful” voices to the many others - including fifty U.S. Senators, House members, President Barack Obama, and so many others - which have taken a stance
The letter is being sent by the National Congress of American Indians, one of the major tribes outraged by the use this "racist" word, the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, and over eighty other major organization.
“Because you are in the NFL, you command a level of respect and credibility when speaking out about the league’s behavior . . . Indeed, players are the most publicly identifiable representatives of the league, which means your support is critical to ending this injustice.”
Among many other arguments, the letter cites the very recent and swift decision of the NBA to expel a team owner for a few racist comments made in a private telephone conversation with the refusal of the NFL to do anything about the repeated use of an equally racist term - American Indians say the R-word is as offensive and racist to them as the N-word is to African Americans - on the airwaves and in many other media, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
Banzhaf is leading a movement to use legal action to attack the unnecessary use of the "Redskin" name on radio and television as a clear violation of federal broadcast law.
As several former FCC officials and leading communications lawyers have noted, stations could face a license challenge for continuing to use this derogatory and indecent term.
Since many NFL players are African American, they may understand and sympathize with American Indians whose children have to grow up with the epithet “Redskin” repeatedly thrown at them.
NFL players would never tolerate for one moment a team in the league named the Jigaboos or the Coons or the Spades or the Spooks, so why should they be a part of an organization which spends millions to promote and publicize a name even more offensive than those, and on a par with the word “N*gger,” argues Banzhaf.
The R-word shouldn’t be used by anyone, especially African Americans or by broadcasters who inundate children and others with it by endless repetition, says Banzhaf.
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052, USA
(202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418
GWU Law School