At the moment, the NBA's biggest battle is between the Heat and the Spurs. But, Tuesday night's halftime underscored an even larger, ongoing fight within professional sports. The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, a tribe from California's Capay Valley, aired its first commercial urging the Washington Redskins football team to change its name. According to the Change The Mascot campaign, "redskin" (which the tribes call the R-word) is a derogatory term used when the Native Americans were forced off their land. In the advertisement, a narrator explains that the R-word is the one term Native Americans don't use to describe themselves. Yet, it's a word the NFL seems to condone.
The commercial originally debuted online on January 7, just weeks before the Super Bowl. But, as Mashable points out, even if the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation had been able to afford the hefty price tag for an ad placement during the biggest game of the year, the NFL doesn't allow activism campaigns to air during the event. Even during the off season, though, the campaign has had a serious effect.
"The R-word is as derogatory a slur as the N-word," Marshall McKay, chairman of Yocah Dehe Wintun Nation, said in a statement. "I think the Change the Mascot campaign will shed some well-deserved light on the trauma and the disadvantaged people...that really haven't had this opportunity to talk about the pain and the anguish that this kind of racism puts us through."
Team owner Daniel Snyder has refused to change the name of the Redskins on the grounds that it was created to honor — not insult — Native Americans. But, last month, an 81-year-old newspaper clipping from The Hartford Courant surfaced, refuting his argument entirely. "The fact that we have in our head coach, Lone Star Dietz, an Indian, together with several Indian players, has not, as may be suspected, inspired me to select the name Redskins" read the article, noting the team name was never meant as a "badge of honor," as the current management has tried to suggest.
If the Redskins football team changes its name, other teams may face similar pressure — off the top of my head, the Braves, Indians, or perhaps even Notre Dame's Fighting Irish. Check out the ad below. It's quite literally a game changer. (Mashable)