Racial insensitivity has been a prime topic of conversation during the NBA postseason, thanks to Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his controversial comments about blacks.
A group is hoping to use the heightened awareness of the issue in its own fight against what it feels is a racist term being used as a team name in another pro sport.
The Northern California-based Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation plans to air a 60-second version of a National Congress of American Indians ad during halftime of Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night. The spot is to appear in seven major markets, including Los Angeles
The group is opposed to the name of the NFL’s Washington Redskins. In the ad, a narrator lists names of tribes and famous people, as well as a variety of words such as “proud,” “patriots,” and “strong” before saying:
“Native Americans call themselves many things. The one thing they don’t ...”
Then there’s silence and viewers see an image of a Redskins helmet.
When Sterling’s comments were made public last month, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acted swiftly by fining the Clippers’ owner $2.5 million, banning him for life from all league activities and pushing for the sale of his team.
Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman told Time magazine he didn’t think Sterling’s punishment would have been as severe in the NFL. His reasoning?
“Because we have an NFL team called the Redskins,” Sherman said. “I don’t think the NFL really is as concerned [about racial issues] as they show. The NFL is more of a bottom-line league. If it doesn’t affect their bottom line, they’re not as concerned.”
We’ll see if appealing to the NBA’s fan base helps the movement against the D.C.-based team’s name.