ADL joins plea to broadcasters to abjure ‘Redskins’

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League signed a letter initiated by Native American groups to broadcasters urging them to avoid pronouncing the name of the Washington NFL franchise, “Redskins.”

“Some might argue that objectivity requires broadcasters to continue promoting the racial slur as long as Washington team owner Dan Snyder keeps denigrating Native Americans by using the epithet as his team’s name,” said the letter sent this week to broadcasters.

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“But in this particular fight for basic equality and mutual respect, there is no ‘objective’
position,” it said. “Every time the slur is promoted on the public airwaves even in a non-critical way by a journalist, it is an endorsement of the continued use of this slur.”

A number of broadcast journalists have in recent days said they have not pronounced the name for years, while others have upheld its use as benign. The Washington Post last month said that its non-sports coverage would omit use of the name.

The ADL, which a year ago declared its opposition to “hurtful and offensive names, mascots and logos” in sports, was the only Jewish group of more than 100 organizations that signed the letter. In May, it joined a similar letter to NFL players urging them to campaign for a name change.

The letter was initiated by the Oneida Indian Nation, which has spearheaded the campaign to get the team to change its name, and the National Congress of American Indians.