The Cleveland Indians on Monday said they will no longer display the controversial Chief Wahoo logo as part of their uniform in 2019. The baseball team's decision prompted a new challenge by The Change the Mascot campaign on Monday for the Washington Redskins to change their nickname.
"The Cleveland baseball team has rightly recognized that Native Americans do not deserve to be denigrated as cartoon mascots, and the team's move is a reflection of a grassroots movement that has pressed sports franchises to respect Native people," Oneida Nation representative Ray Halbritter said in a statement.
Halbritter is the leader of the campaign and posted his statement on the movement's website.
"Cleveland's decision should finally compel the Washington football team to make the same honorable decision. For too long, people of color have been stereotyped with these kinds of hurtful symbols and no symbol is more hurtful than the football team in the nation's capital using a dictionary-defined racial slur as its team name.
"Washington owner Dan Snyder needs to look at Cleveland's move and then look in the mirror and ask whether he wants to be forever known as the most famous purveyor of bigotry in modern sports, or if he wants to finally stand on the right side of history and change his team's name. We hope he chooses the latter."
The movement has been a longtime critic of the Redskins' nickname. Its website describes the organization that hopes to "educate the public about the damaging effects on Native Americans arising from the continued use of the R-word."
Snyder repeatedly has resisted calls for changes to the nickname and logo. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that a trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes on free speech rights.
The team began as the Boston Braves in 1932 but changed the name to Redskins in 1933. It moved to Washington in 1937 and Snyder has owned the team since May 1999.