Skip to main content

Oneida Nation meets with NFL to protest Redskins name

By Steve Almasy, CNN
October 31, 2013 -- Updated 1910 GMT (0310 HKT)
A Washington Redskins cheerleader in front of a team flag during an NFL game against Philadelphia Eagles in 2008.
A Washington Redskins cheerleader in front of a team flag during an NFL game against Philadelphia Eagles in 2008.
  • Officials from Native American group displeased after meeting with NFL officials
  • Oneida Nation representative says group wants to have forum with owners at Super Bowl
  • NFL says meeting is part of "ongoing dialogue"

(CNN) -- One of the next times owners from the 32 NFL teams will all be in one place is Super Bowl XLVIII in February.

Officials from the Oneida Indian Nation have asked to join the big party at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, so they can address the NFL's kingpins about the R-word.

For now, they'll have to be happy to have met with three vice presidents from the league office.

Representatives of the Oneida Nation met Wednesday in New York with executives from the National Football League -- but not NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

Halbritter: 'R-word' is a racial slur
Native Americans 'have real problems'
Redskins nickname: On the way out?

Ray Halbritter, a representative for the Oneida, said he gave NFL vice presidents Adolpho Birch, Paul Hicks and Jeff Pash a letter and a study on the effects of the Redskins name.

"We were somewhat disappointed to say it mildly that they continued to defend the use of the slur," he said. "It really does require us to redouble our efforts in dealing with this issue."

Read: Redskins - Racist or a sporting right?

A statement from the NFL said the meeting was part of an "ongoing dialogue."

"We listened and respectfully discussed the views of Mr. Halbritter, Oneida Nation Wolf Clan Representative Keller George and their colleagues, as well as the sharply differing views of many other Native Americans and fans in general," the NFL said, according to the statement.

Halbritter said the letter asks for another meeting at the Super Bowl so he and the clinical psychologist who put together the study can address every NFL owner on the harm the Redskins name can cause.

"The use of the R-word is not just a victimless crime. It has very real and damaging effects on Native American youth," he said.

Snyder has said the Redskins name will not change.

"After 81 years, the team name 'Redskins' continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come," he wrote in a letter on the team's website.

The nickname is a "badge of honor," he wrote.

Besides the request for a Super Bowl meeting, Halbritter said the letter also asks Goodell to add an NFL rule that prohibits league franchises from naming teams with dictionary-defined racial slurs. The Oneida also want Goodell to sanction Snyder, if he doesn't change the name.

And they also invited Snyder and Goodell to come to Oneida land in central New York, the two-page letter says.

The Washington Post reported that Snyder met with Goodell on Tuesday and the Washington owner reiterated he was keeping the Redskins name.

Part of complete coverage on
U.S. Sport
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
The NFL International Series returns to London this year, and hopes are rising that Britain will one day have its own permanent franchise.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 0310 GMT (1110 HKT)
The Hall of Fame quarterback gives an intimate account of the toughest fight of his life -- and how he won it.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 0255 GMT (1055 HKT)
The greatest receiver in NFL history delivers some tough words on the NFL's scandals, plus talks his new title: "coach"
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 2148 GMT (0548 HKT)
CNN "Unguarded" host Rachel Nichols and Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko discuss.
September 13, 2014 -- Updated 1538 GMT (2338 HKT)
Rachel Nichols questions Floyd Mayweather on his history of abusing women, including the mother of his children.
September 7, 2014 -- Updated 2211 GMT (0611 HKT)
The owner of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks is selling his stake of the team after he sent a racially charged email.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 2258 GMT (0658 HKT)
Major League Baseball's Chief Operating Officer Manfred has been chosen to succeed Bud Selig as the MLB commissioner.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
Jason Collins became the first openly gay man to play in the NBA, wearing a Brooklyn Nets uniform in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1401 GMT (2201 HKT)
USA Today called Madison Rising's performance of the "Star Spangled Banner" prior to a NASCAR race "spectacularly awful."