Two Washington-area radio stations have decided not to air advertisements condemning the use of the Redskins name by the area’s football team.
In an email sent to News4 and nbcwashington.com, the Oneida Indian Nation said they were told by WJFK and WPGC that their ads for the Change the Mascot campaign would not air as scheduled. The tribe was told the ads would not run “based on the amount of on-air debate” the team name has generated.
The Oneidas have been vocal opponents of the Redskins nickname - be it for NFL or high school teams. The tribe, which runs a casino and resort in central New York, this year gave $10,000 toward new jerseys to an area high school that changed its nickname from the Redskins to the Hawkeyes.
Steve Swenson, senior vice president of CBS Radio Washington wrote an e-mail that was provided by the Oneida Nation to “The Washington Post.”
“The issue has been heavily debated on WJFK where we can provide a good balance of discussion, opinions and context to the issue through our programming,” Swenson said by e-mail. “Our audience has reacted positively to that presentation, and we will continue to approach the situation keeping in-line with our audiences’ expectations.”
The ads were due to launch as the Washington Redskins this year face a fresh barrage of criticism over their nickname, with local leaders and pundits calling for a name change. In May, 10 members of Congress sent letters to Redskins owner Dan Snyder and Goodell urging the team to change the name.
An Oneida Indian Nation representative called the cancellation of the ads, “unfortunate and un-American.”
"The station permits the team to slander Native Americans on the public airwaves with the use of the r-word, but doesn't permit Native Americans to use the same airwaves to object to the use of a racial slur,” said Ray Halbritter in an email. “We will not be silent mascots. This issue is not going away, as evidenced by the growing and diverse support this effort gains by the day."
Halbritter said that fans also are being urged to lobby the NFL in support of the name change at www.changethemascot.org.