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McCollum Statement on Washington NFL Team Retiring Racist Name

July 13, 2020
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) released the following statement today after the Washington NFL Football team announced it will retire its racist nickname:

“For years, I have been proud to stand with tribal leaders, youth, and organizations in calling for the National Football League’s franchise in Washington to end its use of a racist mascot that demeans and dehumanizes Native Americans. For decades, this caricature of Native Americans was used for profit with the effect of devaluing and diminishing the humanity of native people.

“We are now in a moment in America in which society and the marketplace will no longer tolerate, let alone reward, blatant racism. The decision by Washington NFL franchise owner Dan Snyder to change the mascot is long overdue, but nonetheless welcome. It is my hope that this ugly form of systemic racism can be eliminated from all of professional sports, as well as amateur athletics.

“Lastly, I want to honor the Native American men, women, and youth who have long demanded to be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.  Throughout this struggle, they have reflected upon their heritage and the often-painful lessons of their ancestors to guide their way. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to share this journey with them.”

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Congresswoman McCollum is Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Native American Caucus, and is Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, which is responsible for allocating federal funding for Indian Country.