A montage of Native American faces appears on-screen; a calm voice breaks the silence. “Indomitable, unyielding, patriot, survivor,” the voice says.
“Native Americans call themselves many things,” the narrator explains. “The one thing they don’t … ” The image freezes on the helmet of Washington, D.C.’s controversially named football team.
The anti-Redskins commercial aired during halftime of the NBA Finals’ Game 3 between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, marking the biggest public protest for those who believe that the name is an ethnic slur.
Paid for by California’s Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and produced by the National Congress of Native Americans, the 60-second ad “ran in seven major cities—including New York, Los Angeles and of course, Washington,” New York’s Daily News reports.
“It’s just a time to get people thinking about putting an end to outward hatred and using sports as a tool to focus on racism,” Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation Tribal Council Chairman Marshall McKay said in a video explaining how his tribe became involved in the controversy.
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has said several times that he doesn’t plan on changing the name, and in October he wrote an open letter explaining that he won’t ignore the franchise’s 81-year history and the associated “traditions and pride” that come with the team name.
The Daily News notes that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell claimed after meeting with Native American leaders that nine out of 10 supported the team name, but a study conducted by California State University, San Bernardino, found “that 67 percent of Native Americans found both the name and imagery racist.”
Read more at the Daily News.