WASHINGTON – More than a dozen Native American leaders and organizations sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday calling for the league to force Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team name immediately.
The letter was signed by 15 Native American advocates and obtained by The Associated Press. It demands the team and the NFL cease the use of Native American names, imagery and logos — with specific importance put on Washington, which last week launched a “ thorough review ” of its name.
The letter was delivered on the same day that President Donald Trump voiced his opposition to any name change by the team. Several team sponsors have come out in favor of change recently and Snyder showed his first indication of willingness to do so amid a nationwide movement to erase racially insensitive symbols.
According to their letter, the groups “expect the NFL to engage in a robust, meaningful reconciliation process with Native American movement leaders, tribes, and organizations to repair the decades of emotional violence and other serious harms this racist team name has caused to Native Peoples.”
The NFL did not immediately respond to a message confirming receipt of the letter. Goodell last week expressed support for Snyder's review process of the name.
Retired PGA Tour golfer Notah Begay, IllumiNative founder Crystal Echo Hawk, two former executive directors of the National Congress of American Indians and several authors and professors signed on to the letter, which wants a full re-branding of the team “to ensure that continuing harm is not perpetuated by anyone.”
Trump is against re-branding the Redskins and Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians, who are also considering a name change.
Trump tweeted: "They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct.”