A prominent civil rights group that has partnered with the NFL on issues of diversity is now calling for Washington’s NFL team to change its name. The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which was instrumental in the league’s establishment of the Rooney rule, voiced concerns to both franchise owner Daniel Snyder, as well as league officials.
During an August meeting with Snyder however, members of the organization “were shouted down by the executive director of the foundation [Snyder] created to help Native Americans,” according to the Washington Post. The NFL told the group “it was a matter only the team could address.”
“We have to take a stand. That name has to be changed. We can’t just leave it up to [the team]. We think it’s disrespectful. We think it’s, by definition, demeaning,” the organization explained in a letter to its members Monday. “As the NFL continues to move in the direction of respect and dignity, one of its teams carrying this name cuts glaringly against the grain. It hurts the League and it hurts us all.”
“We’ve had many conversations with the FPA about the name issue and are disappointed in their decision. We believe that they ignored the outstanding support we have received from Native Americans across this country for the Washington Redskins and the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation during their decision making process,” team spokesman Tony Wyllie said in a statement.