A fan of the Washington football team who was made infamous after he was photographed in December flipping off protesters outside FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, apologized for the situation he claimed got out of hand.
On December 28, hundreds gathered at the stadium to protest the name of the Washington football team. Protesters wore "RETHINK" T-shirts and held banners that read, "Change The Name" and "Snyder Says 'Never' We Say 'Now!'"
At some point during the protest, Rick, a fan of the football team whose last name is not being released, allegedly flipped off a 6-year-old Diné girl, according to reports.
Rick, a fan of the Washington football team, allegedly flips off a 6-year-old Diné girl at a protest outside FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, in December. Photo courtesy Tomas Alejo.
On January 10, Rick agreed to meet with Joe D. Horse Capture, associate curator at the National Museum of the American Indian-Smithsonian Institution, at a Starbucks in Rockville, Maryland, to discuss the incident. Horse Capture was also there to explain to Rick why the team name is offensive to Native Americans.
"To me, he seemed like a really nice guy," Horse Capture told ICTMN. "Right off the bat, he told me how [the incident] kind of came about. ... He sincerely apologized about the whole thing."
Horse Capture said Rick doesn't care about the team name; he cares about the team. Horse Capture told Rick that he should care about the team name given its history and continued harm on Native Americans. Horse Capture also laid out the significance of the Native American headdress and why its offensive when fans wear them to games.
When the meeting was over, Horse Capture said the two nearly hugged. "It was that kind of thing," he said.
When asked why he decided to sit down with Rick for a discussion, Horse Capture said civil dialogue is imperative for the campaign against Native American mascots.
"It’s rare that hostility works," he said. "The best way to change minds is to sit down, shake hands and have a cup of coffee. When you think about it, that’s sort of the old way [of doing] things."
Horse Capture added he doesn't believe team owner Dan Snyder, who said he will "NEVER" change the name, would agree to meet with him for a productive conversation about the name.