Groups who oppose the Washington Redskins name, including the Minnesota-based Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, are taking their case directly to the players.
A letter signed by dozens of Native American, civil rights and religious organizations will go out to more than 2,700 NFL players today asking them to speak out against a name that “does not honor people of color, instead it seeks to conceal a horrible segment of American history and the countless atrocities suffered by Native Americans.”
Led by the Oneida Indian Nation and the National Congress of American Indians, the letter is also being mailed to teams, including the Minnesota Vikings, and sent to players via Twitter.
The letter comes on the heels of a similar dispatch from 50 U.S. senators, including Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, urging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league to endorse a change of the team name.
Owner Dan Snyder has vowed that he won’t change the name.
The letter sent out to players today states:
“Over and over again, defenders of the name demand to know why advocates for changing the name do not spend time on any of the other critical issues facing Indian Country,” the letter sent out today states. “The fact is, this is a critical issue. According to psychologists and public health experts, the NFL’s promotion of this term continues to do great psychological harm to Native Americans, and particularly Native American children. With the NFL spending billions of dollars a year promoting this slur on television and in merchandise across the globe, these children are being constantly told they are savages who should be primarily judged on the basis of their skin color.”