Tell the NFL and Roger Goodell that you won’t stand for racist mascots and appropriation of Native names. Tweet #NotYourMascot during the Superbowl to show support.
— Cole Sayers (@ColeSayers) February 2, 2014
The movement against racist mascots reached a head in 2013, powered first by politicians and people in sports media, then fed by the obtuse and insensitive owner of the Washington Redskins, Daniel Snyder, who told USA Today, “We’ll NEVER change the name.” After high school students in Cooperstown, New York, organized to remove their own school’s racist mascot, the Oneida Indian Nation launched Change the Mascot, which released radio ads against Washington’s racist name and logo in host cities of the team’s away games. At the same time, activists in DC and around the country began to organize independently to effect change in their own communities and support the forward momentum, eventually forming the Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry (EONM) on Facebook.
In the last few months of the year, schools and teams across the country made changes of their own as the heightened pressure and attention showed that U.S. society was, by and large, no longer willing to tolerate racism in sports. The Houston Independent School District went so far as to impose a blanket ban on racist mascots for its schools’ teams. For all that, though, Washington and Snyder remained intransigent, supported by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
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— What TRIBE (@WhatTRIBE) February 2, 2014
Both Snyder and Goodell maintained that poll data showed support for the name “Redskins,” as if an issue of racism should or even could be left up to public opinion. That refusal to budge, though, only gave continued life to the growing movement against them, and EONM organized activities designed to bring the community closer together and make a major showing.
After the success of a #changethename Twitter storm on Jan. 21, 2014, the activists agreed and made plans for a bigger and more prepared storm for the weekend of the Super Bowl. They unveiled a new hashtag, #NotYourMascot, on the evening of Feb. 1, and successfully had it trend in the United States and the Washington region for several hours.
Their sights are now set on the Super Bowl itself. While hundreds of millions of people around the world are tuned in to what may be the largest single sporting event in the world, and millions are talking about it on Twitter, the #NotYourMascot message will be impossible to ignore. The media impact, should it trend, may be immense.
For more information on the hashtag and #NotYourMascot Twitter storm, visit the event page on Facebook.