Year-over-year increase in support of the “Change the Mascot” campaign fueled by young people and communities of color.
A new national survey shows a significant increase in the number of National Football League fans who want the Washington team to change its name and stop promoting a racial slur against Native Americans. Though the overall poll does not yet show majority support for changing the name, it did show a significant year-to-year increase in those saying they do want a change — and as important, support for a change is particularly strong among young people and communities of color.
Among those surveyed by Public Policy Polling, a majority of Latinos and fans between the ages of 18 and 29 say they want the name changed. Additionally, a plurality of African Americans say they support a change. In all, a quarter of the NFL fans surveyed support changing the name -— up 7 points since the last poll.
“These survey results confirm what we have sensed in so many different ways over the last few years: namely, that more and more Americans want the National Football League to start respecting people of color and stop marketing a dictionary-defined racial slur,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, who has helped lead the “Change the Mascot” campaign. “The NFL faces a critical choice: it can continue to try to promote, market and profit off an ugly epithet and alienate an increasingly large share of its potential fans, or it can stand on the right side of history and make a change.”
Halbritter said that the political and cultural context of the poll’s results are particularly important at a time when civil rights has become a major topic of discussion in the 2016 presidential election.
“The context of this trend is significant: We are in the midst of an historic election in which we have seen deep generational and racial divides on the major issues of the day — and this poll about the Washington franchise proves that those divides go way beyond the electoral arena,” he said. “Young people and communities of color are a major part of the future of this country — and they are making a strong statement that the future must be about civility, tolerance and respect, not about promoting racially charged epithets.”
Change the Mascot is a grassroots campaign that works to educate the public about the damaging effects on Native Americans arising from the continued use of the R-word. This civil and human rights movement has helped reshape the debate surrounding the Washington team’s name and brought the issue to the forefront of social consciousness. Since its launch, Change the Mascot has garnered support from prominent advocates including elected officials from both parties, Native American tribes, sports icons, leading journalists and news publications, civil and human rights organizations and religious leaders.
Read The New York Daily News coverage of the poll here.