National Coaltion on Racism in Sports and Media
October 2, 2003

For Release: October 2, 2003

Press Contact: Vernon Bellecourt
Call: 612-721-3914 or Fax: 612-721-7826
Web Address:

Press Contact: Charlene Teters
Call: 505-424-2367

October 2, 2003
Re: Washington Football Team Trademark Decision



Federal Judge Kollar-Kotelly seems to be as confused on this matter as a punch-ballot voter in Florida. Instead of looking at the issue of racism and justice, Federal Judge Kollar-Kotelly focused on the lack of a Gallop Pole of American Indians in 1967. Her decision not only blames the victim, but places the burden in disproving a lie on American Indians while financially rewarding liars.

Federal Judge Kollar-Kotelly is a friend of big business and now big sports. We can hope that no other historically marginalized people in the United States will be subjected to her legal theories of justice. Clearly, regardless of intention, Federal Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s decision maintains a double standard on racial justice.

Random House Dictionary points out as disparaging, derogatory, and offensive racial slurs as “Kike, Honkey, Wop, Nigger, and Redskin.” To argue that the term Redskin honors Indian people is outrageous. If that is the case then let’s honor all Americans by expanding the NFL and major league baseball to include team names such as “The New York Kikes, The Syracuse Wops, The Hoboken Honkeys, The Newark Niggers, The South Boston Paddys, The San Diego Spics, and the The San Francisco Chinks.” It wasn’t too long ago that Pekin Illinois High School called their team the “Pekin Chinks.” Would all these people feel honored and be instilled with pride? The answer, obviously, is no.

We call upon team owner Dan Snyder to test his claim of “powerfully positive change" in the meaning of his team’s name by alternatively having his Washington football franchise take the field each week with a different racially charged name: “Washington Paddys, Washington Monkeys, Washington Crackers, Washington Heebs.” Let us see who is overly sensitive and politically correct then.

To his credit, Abe Pollen owner of the then Washington Bullets Basketball Team made a decision to change the name to the “Wizards” because young people were being downed with bullets, and his friend, Yitshak Rabin was assassinated by gunfire. He said that, “somehow the team name 'Bullets' just didn’t seem to be appropriate anymore.” Thus we ask Dan Snyder, who is also Jewish, to put principle before profit and make the honorable decision and change the name.

We call on all people especially Washington sports fans who understand racism when they see it to retire their Washington attire, and join with Indian people in boycotting all team paraphernalia that exploit Native American identity, spirituality and history.