Dear NFL and the Washington Football Team –
We are living in an unprecedented moment of solidarity, and people across the country have come together to take a stand against racism in any form. In the past few weeks, major steps have been taken to remove racist mascots and imagery. Brands like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s have been removed and NASCAR has banned Confederate flags. Monuments of Confederate soldiers, Christopher Columbus, and slave traders are being toppled in cities around the world.
The fight to end the use of racist mascots, imagery, and names is next.
As athletes, we know sports have power and we exercise tremendous influence and can inspire people of all ages. As an intersectional collective of athletes representing a range of races, genders, sports and religions who are actively involved in movements for justice, we ask that you immediately end the use of Native mascots in the NFL.
This has been a decades long fight with scientific studies proving that Native mascots have direct negative effects on Native Americans and they activate, reflect, and/or reinforce stereotyping and prejudice among non-Native people. It is not and has never been an honor to use this imagery in sports.
If the NFL wants to offer more than empty platitudes in service of profits, then we ask that you immediately ban the use of Native mascots, team names, insensitive gestures and the subsequent racist behavior of fans – starting with removing the Washington R*dsk*ns mascot and name.
Only changing the name is not enough. As long as all Native mascots continue to be allowed in the National Football League, any actions taken to end systemic racism will fall short. It cannot stand. We call on athletes, coaches, announcers, reporters, and fans to stand with us as we call on the NFL to change the name of the Washington football team.
Racism is racism.
Athletes for Impact
Scout Bassett, Paralympian
Notah Begay III, Native American Athlete
Lindsey Napela Berg, Olympian
Benjamin Bratton, Olympian
Dominique Byrd, Former NFL Player
Layshia Clarendon, WNBA
Claire Donyanavard, UCLA Softball’s Director of Operations
Rosalie Fish, Indigenous Track Athlete
Ashleigh Johnson, Olympian
Cam Jordan, NFL
Gwen Jorgensen, Olympian
Eric Kendricks, NFL
Hilary Knight, Olympian
Kyle Korver, NBA
Shiloh LeBeau, Native American Amateur Boxer
Simone Manuel, Olympian
Alexander Mattison, NFL
Ibtihaj Muhammad, Olympian
Chris Mosier, Olympian
Erica Ogwumike, 2020 WNBA Draftee
Kelsey Plum, WNBA
Megan Rapinoe, World Cup Champion
April Ross, Olympian
Karlie Samuelson, WNBA
Katie Lou Samuelson, WNBA
Lauren Schad, Professional Volleyball Player
Danielle Scott, Olympian
Shaq Thompson, NFL
Penny Taylor, WNBA
Chris Vincent, Former NFL Player
Gabby Williams, WNBA
Tarah Wylie, Professional Volleyball Player