Thu, Nov 28, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Woman suing Redskins says Code Talkers honor 'sugercoats' racism
Amanda Blackhorse, lead petitioner in a federal trademark case against the team name of the Washington pro football club, believes that the NFL team was not sincere when it honored Navajo Code Talkers Monday night.
"As a Navajo person, I understand the symbolic meaning of our Navajo Code Talkers, and we will continue to honor them for their service," Blackhorse wrote in an email to USA TODAY Sports. "The Code Talkers deserved a more genuine honor, not just 30 seconds of media time so the Washington team can sugarcoat their racism."
The Code Talkers are a select group of Marines in World War II who created an unbreakable code based on the Navajo language. The Washington team honored members of the American Code Talkers Association during an in-game break Monday night.
"Currently, there are thousands upon thousands of Natives and non-Natives who support our efforts to eliminate the racist team name," Blackhorse wrote. "Using four Navajo elders does not justify what they are doing and does not change anything. At the end of the day, the name is still inappropriate and disparaging toward Native American people.
"That is the message I would like to send Mr. Snyder. Our views have not changed. Nothing has changed. We are still offended and outraged that he would parade around our elders and use them as a shield against the growing number of people who want him to do the right thing."
Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington team, told USA TODAY Sports in May that he would never change his team's name. That oft-repeated quote appeared in a story about Blackhorse, who seeks to strip federal trademark protection from the word redskin, which she contends is a racial slur. The case was heard in March before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, part of the U.S. Patent Office, and a ruling is expected in coming weeks.
Blackhorse asked in that story if Snyder would dare to call her a redskin to her face. "I think the best way is to just not comment on that type of stuff," Snyder said. "I don't know her."
Blackhorse said by phone Wednesday that she suspects Snyder would not have called the Code Talkers redskins if he met them on Monday. "Those are our elders," she said. "We honor our elders. I hope he did not use such a word to them, and I don't think he would."