WASHINGTON - The National Congress of American Indians and the Oneida Nation are urging NFL players to speak out against the Washington club's "Redskins" nickname.
The Oneida Nation and the NCAI said they would be sending a letter to some 2,700 players, and also reach out directly to players via social media urging them to condemn the nickname and mascot.
"Your NFL should not be a place where any person is expected to sit by in silence while their heritage is so casually disgraced and condemned by this racial slur," the letter says.
The organizations said that 77 various groups -- including Native American organizations, civil rights groups and religious organizations -- had co-signed the letter to the players.
The groups leading the "Change the Mascot" campaign said they hope other players will follow the example of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who earlier this month cited the controversial nickname as evidence the NFL isn't very concerned about racism.
Tuesday's move comes less than a week after 49 US Senators joined the campaign to pressure the team into changing the racially charged name, with a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
"The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur," the senators, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, said.
Washington team owner Daniel Snyder opposes a name change, and club president Bruce Allen responded to last week's call from US lawmakers by saying the team moniker is "respectful" to Native Americans.
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