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Congresswoman Betty McCollum

Representing the 4th District of Minnesota

McCollum Endorses “Change the Mascot” Campaign Targeting NFL’s Washington Football Team’s Racist Brand

September 13, 2013
Press Release

For Immediate Release:  September 13, 2013                                         
Contact:  Maria Reppas, (202) 225-6631 / (202) 527-0149

Washington Post calls Red*****’ name “a racial slur of Native Americans so offensive that it should no longer be tolerated”

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, today announced her strong endorsement of the “Change the Mascot” campaign.  The Oneida Indian Nation of New York initiated this campaign to urge the National Football League (NFL) and the owner of the Washington NFL team to end its use of the offensive and blatantly racist team name.  In a telephone call yesterday with Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, McCollum commended the tribe for its efforts and offered her strong support.

“The NFL and its Washington franchise are promoting and profiting from an offensive, racist caricature of Native Americans that simply can’t be tolerated.  The Change the Mascot campaign has my full support.  I hope football fans, the media, and all Americans send a strong message that Native Americans and their culture are to be respected and honored, not degraded,” McCollum said.  “The Oneida Indian Nation of New York is to be commended for standing up for the dignity of all Native Americans. My hope is that NFL owners and players go on the record and join the campaign because right now their silence is condoning this racist brand,” McCollum concluded.

Joining the chorus for change, in today’s lead editorial, the Washington Post once again called on Dan Snyder, owner of Washington’s NFL team, to abandon the team’s name.  The editorial characterized the team’s mascot as an “ethnic slur.”

The Post said, “Mr. Snyder should be prepared for the controversy never to end. The clamor for change only grows with time.”

On May 13, 2013, McCollum joined nine congressional colleagues, including the Republican co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), in a letter urging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to take a stand against the offensive name used by the Washington franchise.  The letter states, “For decades now, Native American leaders and organizations have been advocating an end to the use of ‘redskin’ as the organization’s ‘brand’ because it is derogatory, demeaning, and offensive.”

Congresswoman Betty McCollum is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and serves as the Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.