Fans of the Washington football team who love the club but hate the R-word are hoping to inspire other fans to get on the change-the-name train.
Two devout Washington team fans, Ian Washburn and Josh Silver, are encouraging their fellow fans to join them in protest of the name in recorded calls being placed in the D.C. metro area, according to a press release by the Change the Mascot campaign -- a coalition working to see that the name, a dictionary-defined racial slur, is changed.
“We represent America’s capital; and it’s time we demonstrate our commitment to the ideals of equality and civility,” Silver says in the recording. “Without the name, it’s still D.C. football. ... You can stay a true fan, and also recognize the need for a mascot that doesn't alienate and offend," Washburn continues.
In a joint statement, Representative Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Indian Nation and Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, commended Washburn and Silver referring to the pair as "courageous."
“These courageous fans provide a shining example of how you can be a sports fan while also being thoughtful and socially responsible," the statement reads. "Their actions demonstrate that people can support the Washington football team, but also recognize that its hurtful name needs to change. The willingness of Ian, Josh, and the other fans who are coming forward is a testament to their character and I hope that others will step forward to stand up for what’s right.”
The phone campaign is supported by Change the Mascot, which is spearheaded by both the Oneida Indian Nation and the National Congress of American Indians.