The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

October 31, 2013

Oneida Nation requests meeting with all NFL owners

NEW YORK (AP) — Characterizing their meeting with the NFL about their disapproval of the use of Redskins by the Washington franchise as disappointing, representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation requested a meeting with all 32 NFL owners during Super Bowl week.

They hope to persuade the other team owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell to put pressure on Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to drop the nickname they find offensive.

"Given the way the meeting transpired," Ray Halbritter, an Oneida representative and leader of the "Change the Mascot Campaign," said Wednesday, "it became somewhat evident they were defending the continued use of the name. Of course, we're disappointed."

The Oneidas asked Goodell and Snyder to "visit our homelands," and sought an amendment to league bylaws to prohibit franchises from naming a team with any term that is a racial epithet. Halbritter says the dictionary defines the word 'redskins' precisely that way.

And Halbritter's group asked Goodell to "use his power to bring Snyder before the league executive committee for possible sanctions" should the team continue to use the name.

The NFL released a statement about the meeting, which Goodell did not attend. The NFL was represented by senior vice president Adolpho Birch, and executive vice presidents Jeff Pash and Paul Hicks. Pash is the league's general counsel.

"We met at the request of Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Nation," the statement said. "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 meeting was part of an ongoing dialogue to facilitate listening and learning, consistent with the commissioner's comments earlier this year."

Many of the Oneidas' requests were contained in a letter handed to the NFL representatives at the meeting.

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