ALBANY, NY (May 5, 2014) Following the NBA's historic decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his offensive comments about African Americans, Senator George Maziarz, Chairman of the State-Native Americans Relations Senate Committee, Assembly Member Karim Camara, Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus of the New York State Assembly, Senator Joe Griffo, Assembly Member Keith Wright and Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative and CEO of Oneida Enterprises plan to announce they will be introducing a resolution calling for professional sports leagues to stop using dictionary-defined racial slurs as mascots.
The draft resolution, which will be circulated this week in the state Assembly and the state Senate, comes as civil rights groups, religious leaders, sports icons and Republican and Democratic Members of Congress have spoken out against professional sports leagues' use of such slurs - in particular, the R-word used by the Washington NFL franchise. In just the past week, in fact, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson (D) became the latest elected officials to publicly declare that the Washington NFL franchise should consider refraining from continuing to use that dictionary-defined racial slur as its team name.
With commissioners and team owners from the NBA this week using their power to combat racism in their midst, the resolution calls on other leagues - such as the NFL - to use their power to stop promoting slurs that denigrate others on the basis of their race and ethnicity. As evidenced by the social science research referenced in the pending legislation, those slurs have negative consequences for groups targeted by the epithets.