Washington Football Team Bans Native American Headdresses and Face Paint
The Washington football team quietly announced on Wednesday that fans would not be allowed to wear Native American-inspired headdresses or face paint in their stadium.
The policy change was announced along with other updated stadium policies and protocols for games this season, including the recommendation of face masks for unvaccinated fans and cashless concession stands.
“We are delighted to welcome back everyone wearing their Burgundy & Gold,” the team said in a statement. “However, Native American-inspired ceremonial headdresses or face painting may no longer be worn in the stadium.”
The fan dress policy comes just over a year after the team dropped their logo and removed “Redskins” from their name after years of advocates’ calls for change. The name has even raised concerns from President Barack Obama. The team rejected the name after large social justice protests following the murder of George Floyd, and after pressure from sponsors like FedEx, Nike and Pepsi.
The team, which plays at home at FedEx Field, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
The new dress code also comes as teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Indians have made similar changes. Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team announced in July that they would change their name to Guardians, and three days later the Chiefs said the National Football League team would be removing their mascot, a horse. named Warpaint, while retaining its name.
Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians, said Wednesday that the change of the Washington football team was “good news, but long overdue.”
“Native people have suffered the indignity and trauma of these dehumanizing fan rituals for decades,” Ms. Sharp said in a statement. “NCAI won’t rest until all K-12 pro, college and school teams remove their native-themed mascots – and the fan rituals that go with them – in the trash.” of the history to which they belong. “
The Washington football team is not expected to announce its new nickname until the 2022 season. In April, the team announced that an investigation had resulted in more than 39,000 fan submissions with suggestions for a new name, including Cannons, Thrushers, Red-Monster-Truck-Jam and Washington Wash Your Hands.
After the investigation, Jason Wright, team president, said the team would create a shortlist from the submissions. Then the team would take care of “months of work of legal wrangling, trademarks, merchandising feasibility and dozens of other uninteresting but really important steps that go into launching a new name.”
“We know it’s next to impossible for everyone to like the name we’re landing on,” Wright said in April. “For a franchise identity that has meant so much to so many families and communities, both in a positive and hurtful way, there is no way to create a new brand without some dissatisfaction. But our hope is that our fans can understand that the final decision will be raised by the pillars they have built during this process. “
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