The name ‘Redskins’ has taken another hit.
On Monday, the New York State Assembly unanimously passed a resolution saying that professional sports teams should end their use of racial slurs. The resolution specifically denounces the Washington football team's name and urges team owner Daniel Snyder to pick a new one.
The bill was originally prompted by students in Cooperstown, New York, who voted to stop using the term “redsk*ns” as the name of their school’s mascot, but it was formally introduced by Assemblymen Keith Wright and Karim Camara on May 6 when a bipartisan group of lawmakers held a press conference denouncing the word.
"We shouldn't have to put forth this resolution," Democratic Assemblyman Keith Wright told the Associated Press earlier this month. "The word is absolutely offensive to the Native American community and beyond."
In a statement on Monday, Camara, who chairs the black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Cacus, condemed the promotion and marketing of racial slurs. He also called on the media to refrain from using the R-word in its media reports.
“Until the NFL decides that the use of a term that is a dictionary defined racial slur should be stopped, the media, especially in New York, should stop using it,” Karmin Camara said in a press release. “New York is a place where all people should feel welcome and not be subjected to racial slurs while reading their morning newspaper. Editors and producers already have guidelines in place to not use certain language, including racial slurs. The time has come for the term “redsk*n” to join the other racial slurs and words used to denigrated different ethnic groups and cultures no longer used by media outlets in New York.”
New York State legislators came to their decision on the same day that the NFL hosted its Spring Meeting in Atlanta. They have joined a growing list of individuals, news organizations, Members of Congress, and President Obama in criticizing the team's name.
“Today is so significant because this resolution signifies that New York is making a statement that it wants to stand on the right side of history,” said Ray Halbritter, CEO of Oneida Indian Nation. “New York’s lawmakers clearly understand how important state legislatures have been to previous movements against pathologies like bigotry and inequality.”
The Oneida Nation’s Change the Mascot campaign has aired nationwide radio ads throughout the past NFL season calling for a name change and the campaign plans to continue its efforts in the upcoming 2014-2015 season.
“Racism should have no place in our society, which includes sports, which are not just games,” Camara said. “They also reflect what we accept and embrace in our culture."