CBS stations refuse Oneida Indian ad

Updated: October 19, 2013, 10:31 AM ET
By John Keim | ESPN.com

Two Washington, D.C. radio stations won't run ads protesting the Washington Redskins nickname, a decision that surprised and disappointed the leading advocates behind the movement.

CBS Radio Washington informed the Oneida Indian Nation on Friday that their ads will not air this weekend, according to The Washington Post. Oneida is running a national "Change the Mascot" campaign, but Steve Swenson, the senior vice president of CBS Radio Washington, said in an email to the group that heavy discussion on the topic on sports-talk WJFK led to the decision.

The Oneida Nation forwarded the email to The Post.

Based on the amount of on-air debate, adding paid commercials from one side is not something that we think is beneficial for this discussion and for our audience.

-- Radio executive Steve Swenson
in an email to the Oneida Indian Nation forwarded to The Washington Post

"Based on the amount of on-air debate, adding paid commercials from one side is not something that we think is beneficial for this discussion and for our audience," the email said.

WPGC, another station in Washington owned by CBS, also won't air the ad.

Swenson later confirmed the news to The Post and wrote in another email that, "The issue has been heavily debated on WJFK where we can provide a good balance of discussion, opinions and context to the issue through our programming. Our audience has reacted positively to that presentation, and we will continue to approach the situation keeping in-line with our audiences' expectations."

The ad implores Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the nickname, a movement that has gained momentum in the media.

Among high-profile media members who have come out against the nickname this week: NBC's Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth and conservative Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer.

Oneida representative Ray Halbritter says in the ad that "Native Americans ... want to be treated as what we all are: Americans."

Halbritter was not happy with CBS' decision to not air the ads.

"It is unfortunate and un-American that the station permits the team to slander Native Americans on the public airwaves with the use of the r-word, but doesn't permit Native Americans to use the same airwaves to object to the use of a racial slur," he told The Post.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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