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Controversy Continues Over Washington Redskins Name

  • VOA News

Fans await the entrance of the Washington Redskins through a large, inflatable helmet, as the Washington Redskins host the Jacksonville Jaguars, at FedEx Stadium in Landover, Maryland, Sept. 14, 2014. (VOA / Frank Mitchell)

Fans await the entrance of the Washington Redskins through a large, inflatable helmet, as the Washington Redskins host the Jacksonville Jaguars, at FedEx Stadium in Landover, Maryland, Sept. 14, 2014. (VOA / Frank Mitchell)

A leading U.S. newspaper said a prominent civil rights group, after months of trying, has failed to convince the owner of the Washington Redskins football team to meet with Native Americans who find the team's name offensive.

The Washington Post reported Monday the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which works with the National Football League to promote diversity, tried to talk with Daniel Snyder and the National Football League leadership about concerns over the team's name.

However, the alliance was not successful in securing a meeting with the team's leadership and Native Americans who are opposed to the team's racially tinged moniker.

The Post said the alliance chose Monday, which in Martin Luther King Jr., Day in America, for maximum impact in publicly voicing its opposition to the name. The late Reverend King is one of the country's most famous civil rights figures.

Fritz Pollard chairman John Wooten, a lineman for the Redskins in the late 1960s, said in a letter he co-signed that, "as the NFL continues to move in the direction of respect and dignity, one of its teams carrying this name cuts glaringly against the grain... It hurts the League and it hurts us all."

Dictionary.com defines redskin as "a contemptuous term used to refer to a North American Indian."

Team owner Snyder has defied growing pressure for a name change, arguing that the moniker of the U.S. capital's beloved football team actually honors Native Americans.

Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie said the team has had many conversations with the Fritz Pollard Alliance about the name issue and is "disappointed in their decision." He said the alliance "ignored the outstanding support we have received from Native Americans across the country for the Washington Redskins and the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation during their decision making process."

The Washington Post reported the alliance has added its name to a growing list of opponents to the Washington football team's name. The list includes President Barack Obama and 50 U.S. senators.

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