Oneida tribe, NFL to meet Wednesday

Updated: October 25, 2013, 7:47 PM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

The NFL and representatives of Oneida Indian Nation have moved up their meetings to discuss the future of the Washington Redskins nickname.

The two sides were originally scheduled to meet in late November, but will instead meet Wednesday in New York City, The Associated Press first reported. The debate over use of the Redskins name has picked up momentum in recent months as the tribe in upstate New York started to take out radio ads and speak more openly to the media about its objections.

Oneida CEO Ray Halbritter told ESPN.com he is satisfied that meetings will take place, but won't be appeased by anything other than a name change.

"There's really no grey area here," Halbritter said. "When the Seminole tribe made an arrangement with Florida State, it was about ensuring respect. To negotiate to be able to use the word 'Redskin' would be like negotiating to use the 'N-word,' it's just not in our consideration."

Halbritter said he hopes the NFL makes the right decision.

"This is a defined term," he said. "It is derogatory, offensive and is a racial epithet. This is the word that was used when people were forced off their land at gunpoint when the motto was, 'Kill the Indian, save the man.'"

Earlier this month, Redskins owner Dan Snyder wrote a letter to fans holding firm on his belief the name should stay.

"After 81 years, the team name 'Redskins' continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come," Snyder wrote.

Halbritter contends Snyder's note left out some essential history.

"The name 'Redskins' was selected by a noted racist George Preston Marshall and the team was the last team in the NFL to integrate only after being forced to do so by Bobby Kennedy," Halbritter said.

A recent survey of 500 Washington D.C., residents, commissioned by Oneida Indian Nation, revealed that 59 percent of those asked said that Native Americans have a right to feel offended by the Redskins name. Approximately three out of every four asked said a name change wouldn't change their affinity for the team.

"Changing the name won't hurt the team's fanbase," Halbritter said. "There's not an economic deterrent either."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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