By: Andres Del Aguila & Anthony Jackson
WASHINGTON – The Director of the National Museum of the American Indian said it was “aggravating” the Washington Redskins owner positioned himself for social justice because he continues to use the “Redskin slur in business.”
“They are standing there doing something for social justice and right across their chest they have a racial slur…,” Kevin Gover told TMN on Tuesday. “Those (racial) issues must be dealt with but they shouldn’t forget other racial minorities that face the same challenges.”
Gover said the team should drop the “racist term” despite having the legal right to keep it. The courts have ruled in favor of the Redskins trademark.
Gover’s comments came after seven Redskins players kneeled during the national anthem on Sunday. Other players, including owner Daniel Snyder, locked arms in solidarity.
Gover and others have been battling for years with the Redskins to change the team’s name because they view the name as a racial slur.
Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback, was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem in August 2016. At the time he said he was protesting to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Kaepernick is no longer in the league.
Now, more than a year after the initial protest, NFL players across the league have followed suit. Protests grew after President Donald Trump’s tweets called for players to be fired or suspended until “players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country.”
His statement turned the debate about race into a larger conversation about free speech rights, which was addressed by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).
“People are clearly within their rights to express themselves how they see fit,” Ryan said at a press conference Tuesday. “My own view, though, is we shouldn’t do it on the anthem. The national anthem, our flag, and the people who defend it and represent it-that should be celebrated everywhere and always. That’s my opinion.”
The Washington Redskins released a statement at the end of their Sunday game.
“The Washington Redskins will bring unity, civility and respect to the greater community,” the organization said, adding it recognizes the sacrifices made by armed forces members to protect their freedom to play.
TMN reached out to the Redskins organization but they did not return calls.