New York State legislators are signing on with the Oneida Nation's 'Change the Mascot' campaign to urge professional sports teams to end the use of dictionary-defined racial slurs as team names or mascots, specifically targeting the Washington Redskins NFL franchise. Cara Thomas tells us leaders hope the recent controversy surrounding the owner of the LA Clippers will sway their decision.
UNITED STATES -- It was just last week that a controversial recording of the Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, making racist comments was released. The NBA immediately launched an investigation and took action.
"Sterling's words were vile, foul and repugnant. He showed no remorse for his actions and the only remorse that he had, his only regret was that he got caught on tape," said Assemblyman Keith Wright of Manhattan.
Sterling was fined and banned from having any association with the Clippers or the NBA.
This isn't the only case of its type in professional sports. The Oneida Indian Nation has been trying to eliminate discriminatory terms used by the NFL's Washington franchise through their 'Change the Mascot' campaign for months. And now New York State lawmakers are stepping in to help with new legislation.
"The resolution calls on other leagues, such as the NFL, to use their power to stop promoting slurs that denigrate others on the basis of their race and ethnicity," said Assemblyman Karim Camara of Brooklyn.
"We are saying that leagues like the NFL, a $9 billion a year business and among the most powerful cultural forces in America, possibly the world, that with such great power comes great responsibility," said Ray Halbritter, President and CEO of the Oneida Indian Nation.
He said by using the R-word, people view Native Americans as mascots not as people and focus on the alleged color of their skin. But said this resolution will send a clear message to professional sports that New York won't stand for this inequality.
"It is time for NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, to follow the actions of NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, and put pressure on Dan Snyder to change the name of his Washington team," said Wright.
The resolution draft will be circulated through the Senate and Assembly this week for approval.