A diversity group that works closely with the NFL called Friday for Washington Redskins officials to meet with Native American leaders opposed to the team’s name, calling a new poll that casts doubt on how disparaging Indians find the moniker “merely one additional piece of information in a huge bundle of considerations.”
The statement by the Fritz Pollard Alliance, written by its co-counsel, American University law professor Jeremi Duru, was provided to The Washington Post one day after a Post poll found that nine in 10 Native Americans do not find the team’s name offensive.
The alliance has expressed its opposition to the name.
“The FPA calls on the Washington Football Club to meet with Native American leadership that opposes the name,” Duru said. “We see this poll as one additional piece of information in a huge bundle of considerations that also includes other surveys that have indicated a substantially higher proportion of Native Americans are offended by the Club’s name, opposition to the name from over 100 civil rights and other groups, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s refusal again and again to register trademarks on the word ‘redskins’, and a federal judge recently agreeing with the PTO’s decision cancelling the Washington Club’s trademark on the name.
“We have been trying for almost two years to arrange a face to face meeting between the Club and Native American leadership. The Native American leadership has agreed, but the Club has refused. It is time for in person dialogue.”
Leaders of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which works with the NFL on hiring practices and other issues, said in January 2015 that they’d tried unsuccessfully to convince the Redskins to meet with Native American leaders opposed to the name. They attempted to discuss the issue with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder at a meeting the previous summer but were shouted down, according to members of the diversity group, by the executive director of the foundation created by Snyder to help Native Americans.