WASHINGTON – The Oneida Indian Nation detests the Redskins name, but is lauding two former Redskins for taking a stand on a controversial issue this week.
“It’s not always easy to speak, but it’s necessary,” Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter tells WTOP.
“It’s important that what we stand for is inclusion and mutual respect.”
Redskins Hall of Famers Art Monk and Darrell Green told WTOP they would like the team to at least consider changing the team name to something that doesn’t leave people feeling offended.
Their comments made national news.
“It’s not easy to do that especially because of how proud they can be of their incredible accomplishments in sports,” says Halbritter.
“The popularity of sports teams is so strong, but we know that what is popular is not always right.”
According to the tribe leader, the two former players are displaying “selfless courage” with their statements.
The opinions of Green and Monk run counter to those of team officials.
Owner Daniel Snyder has said he will “never” change the name.
“Washington is the center and the capital of our nation, and this is just important as a message,” says Halbritter.
In a news release, the Oneida Indian Nation thanked Monk and Green.
The release goes on to say the following:
“The memory of Mr. Monk’s storied professional football career is inherently tied to the Washington Redskins brand. That means the decision by him and his teammate Darrell Green to publicly speak out against the Redskins bigoted brand is an act of selfless courage – one that says the fight against prejudice is more important than any one individual. As two of the greatest athletes ever to play for Washington’s football franchise, Mr. Monk and Mr. Green have added their truly powerful voices to a grassroots campaign against the mean-spirited mascot-ization of our indigenous culture.”