The United Reformed Church (URC) has responded to the calls of its partner church in the US, the United Church of Christ, to share solidarity with Native American communities in addressing the racially demeaning name, mascot, and imagery of the Washington national football league (NFL) team, the “Washington Redskins” – who are scheduled to play at Wembley Stadium on 30 October.
The URC’s General Secretariat gave their backing to the campaign by writing to the directors of Wembley Stadium, BBC Sport and NFL UK. The Revd John Proctor, General Secretary of the URC and the Revd Dr Michael Jagessar, URC Secretary for Global and Intercultural Ministries, stated: ‘The use of racist imagery, language and stereotyping is an affront to all that makes us human, undermines the dignity and human rights of fellow human beings, and negatively impacts upon self-image, self-awareness and self-esteem. Moreover, the continuing misappropriation of Native American cultural names and images, as apparent in this NFL team, is exploitative as it is degrading. The letters call on Wembley Stadium to take into consideration its own commitment to “show the red card to racism”, and prevent any acts of racial discrimination, offensive or abusive language and imagery in sport. They urge the stadium authorities and NFL UK to reconsider their decision to host the game here.
- Change the Mascot, launched by the Oneida Indian Nation.
- The United Church of Christ story on the campaign: http://www.ucc.org/news_international_voices_join_ucc_call_to_nfl_team_to_change_name_09012016 - See more at: http://urc.org.uk/media-news/2155-calls-for-american-football-giants-to-disqualify-racism.html#sthash.eTkO5kc1.dpuf
- The URC Open Letter to directors of Wembley Stadium, BBC Sport and NFL UK (Letter PDF)
Photo: American Football by Footballz/deviantart