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Sports Teams Consider Name Changes, The Anthem And How To Move Forward Amid Nationwide Debates About Race




Washington Redskins helmets lay on the ground during their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on September 29, 2013 in Oakland, California.
Washington Redskins helmets lay on the ground during their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on September 29, 2013 in Oakland, California.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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More than a dozen Native American leaders and organizations sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday calling for the league to force Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team name immediately. The letter was signed by 15 Native American advocates and obtained by The Associated Press. It demands the team and the NFL cease the use of Native American names, imagery and logos — with specific importance put on Washington, which last week launched a “thorough review” of its name.

The letter was delivered on the same day that President Donald Trump voiced his opposition to any name change by the team. Several team sponsors have come out in favor of change recently and Snyder showed his first indication of willingness to do so amid a nationwide movement to erase racially insensitive symbols.According to their letter, the groups “expect the NFL to engage in a robust, meaningful reconciliation process with Native American movement leaders, tribes, and organizations to repair the decades of emotional violence and other serious harms this racist team name has caused to Native Peoples.” The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May sparked protests and a nationwide debate on racism. That conversation renewed calls for Snyder to change the name called a “dictionary defined racial slur” by Native American advocates and experts. Name changes aren’t the only thing teams will have to consider as players return. As the New York Times reports, teams won’t be able to avoid the kneel or stand debate with regards to the National Anthem.

Today on AirTalk, we discuss how the sports world moves forward with these considerations. We want to know what you think. Tell us your thoughts and join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722. 

With files from the Associated Press

Guest:

Arash Markazi, sports columnist for The Los Angeles Times; he tweets @ArashMarkazi