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Oneida Nation leaders meet with NFL execs, leave 'disappointed'

By Mike Singer |

Washington owner Dan Snyder is standing by his decision to keep the Redskins name. (USATSI)

Representatives from Oneida Indian Nation who met with NFL executives on Wednesday regarding the Redskins nickname controversy seem to have made little headway in convincing the league that the name “promotes a dictionary-defined racial slur,” according to the Nation.

Throughout a 90-minute meeting with three league executives in New York, the Nation requested a sit-down with all NFL team owners during Super Bowl week, and they invited Redskins owner Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell to visit Oneida Nation in upstate New York, according to ESPN.

The Nation's representatives left frustrated, claiming that the NFL “defended the use of a racist name,” in the meetings.

“We are very disappointed,” Oneida spokesman Joel Barkin said. “This is the beginning of the process. It's clear that they don't see how this is not a unifying term. They don't have a complete appreciation for the breadth of opposition of Native Americans to this mascot and name.”

Goodell and Snyder met on Tuesday, and the Redskins' owner reaffirmed his commitment to keeping the name.

In a two-page letter to Goodell, Oneida asked that the league consider sanctioning Snyder under the premise that the Redskins name is “detrimental to the welfare of the NFL's image.”

In part, the letter read, “First we want to finally halt the destructive effects of the 'R-word' on our people and native peoples everywhere. Additionally, as financial sponsors of the league, we are concerned that the league's marketing of a racially derogatory term undermines the NFL's ability to be a unifying force in America.”

The letter also included information suggesting that the name has negative effects on the “systemic public health … on the native populations that this slur targets.”

Finally, the letter asked Goodell to use his power as commissioner to “initiate action against any owner who is guilty of conduct detrimental to the welfare of the league.”

“As commissioner,” the letter stated, “you have exercised your authority to act pursuant to this provision under circumstances that are far less egregious than the use of a racial epithet.”

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