Ray Halbritter, national representative of the Oneida Indian Nation, speaks during the Change the Mascot symposium on Oct. 7 in Washington. (AP Photo)
ALBANY, N.Y. — Oneida Indian officials who oppose the Redskins nickname as a slur will meet with NFL officials next week in New York City, a tribe spokesman said Friday.
The meeting agreed to by NFL officials earlier this month is scheduled for Wednesday in New York City, Oneida Indian Nation spokesman Brett Stagnitti told The Associated Press.
The upstate New York tribe and its leader, Ray Halbritter, became prominent critics of the team’s name after funding a “Change the Mascot” radio ad campaign and a symposium in Washington on the harmful effects of the nickname.
Halbritter, whose tribe runs a large casino resort in Verona in central New York, says the name is degrading and has devastating effects, especially on younger Indians.
The tribe began pushing for a name change recently as the Washington Redskins faced fresh waves of criticism over their nickname. Even President Barack Obama weighed in, saying recently he would “think about changing” the name if he owned the team.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said senior league executives will attend next week’s meeting, but he didn’t know if Commissioner Roger Goodell will be among them.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has said he will never change the team’s name and Goodell has said that it is ultimately Snyder’s call.
In a letter to season-ticket holders this month, Snyder said he respected the feelings of those offended by the name, but wrote “I hope such individuals also try to respect what the name means, not only for all of us in the extended Washington Redskins family, but among Native Americans, too.”
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