The United Church of Christ (UCC) has asked its members in the mid-Atlantic region to boycott the Washington Redskins until the NFL team agrees to change its name. For 40,000 members in the region, this means refraining from buying tickets and wearing Washington Redskins fan apparel.
At the UCC’s annual meeting this week, the denomination passed a resolution, urging the team to change its name and image mascot. The resolution is occurring just as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has officially cancelled the team’s trademark for its “disparaging” representative of Native Americans.
"I hope this debate will continue to draw attention to an unhealed wound in our cultural fabric," said conference minister Rev. John Deckenback, conference minister. "Changing the name of the Washington NFL team will not solve the problems of our country's many trails of broken promises and discriminatory isolation of our Native American communities. However, a change in the nation's capital can send a strong message."
Oneida Nation spokesman Ray Halbritter attended the conference, and thanked the UCC for supporting the “campaign for the ideal of mutual respect.”
"With your help, we cannot only end this ongoing offense against my own heritage, but we can win a major victory for a more inclusive society. This campaign is no longer only about how the use of this term affects Native Americans, it is about what kind of country we all want to live in,” Halbritter said.
The Washington Redskins has not yet responded to the denomination’s demands.
Publication date: June 18, 2014