Oneida Indian Nation Rep. 'Disappointed' After Meeting With NFL Execs | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Oneida Indian Nation Rep. 'Disappointed' After Meeting With NFL Execs

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Ray Halbritter, National Representative of the Oneida Indian Nation, met with NFL officials on Wednesday.
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Ray Halbritter, National Representative of the Oneida Indian Nation, met with NFL officials on Wednesday.

Representatives from an American Indian tribe say they are "disappointed" after meeting with NFL executives over their concerns about the Washington Redskins team name.

The Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter says his group met with NFL executives in New York today. The upstate New York tribe has led a high-profile campaign urging Washington to drop its team name, calling it offense to American Indians.

"Despite ridiculous assertions to the contrary, the use of the r-word is not a unifying force, nor does it convey honor or respect. Quite the contrary, in fact," Halbritter says. "Washington's team is the very word that our people heard when they were dragged by gunpoint off their homelands. The NFL should stop promoting this epithet an the league should prevail upon Washington's owner to change course and choose to stand on the right side of history."

Halbritter says he made a number of requests, including that the NFL change the bylaws to ban naming a team that is defined by the dictionary as a slur. Halbritter also wants all 32 NFL team owners to meet with the Oneida tribe during Superbowl week.

A doctor also presented findings at the meeting, arguing that the Washington mascot is "textbook discrimination," and potentially damaging to children.

Halbritter says he wished he had heard something different from the NFL today. The executives defended the use of the Washington team name, citing the teams history and legacy.

Halbritter says while it was "a historic day" to meet with the NFL. The group will "redouble" its efforts to pressure team owner Dan Snyder and the league to change the name.

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