DENVER (CBS4) – Washington Redskins fans were inside Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday cheering on their team as they took on the Denver Broncos. But outside the stadium protesters gathered.
The protesters were from a local group from Denver who say the Redskins name is racist and needs to be changed. They say every time the Redskins take the field it’s a mockery.
“Hey, hey, ho, ho, this crazy mascot has got to go,” the protesters yelled.
Gerald Montour and his brother Chuntay Hermanyhorses were beating drums for their ancestors, and they beat out a message for football fans.
“The name ‘redskin’ is not anything of honor. It’s to remind us of how our ancestors were treated, how we were butchered, how our skin was taken to cover books,” Montour said.
Radio ads sponsored by the Oneida Indian Nation have also been playing in Denver and around the country protesting that name and asking for it to be changed.
“We’ve got people driving by yelling at us, calling us names, telling us to get a different cause. We don’t call you guys out. We respect your ways. We have to live your ways because you take our ways,” Hermanyhorses said.
Redskins fan Jason Stephens disagrees.
“I’m personally not offended at all by it. While I understand that they might be upset by it, no, I love them, that’s my team,” Stephens said.
A registered application for the name “Washington Bravehearts” was received by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last week. The NFL team in Washington has said it has nothing to do with the application, but the man who signed the paperwork is Aris Mardirossian, a close friend of Redskin’s team owner Dan Snyder.
Redskins fan Chris Jones says changing the name will change the team’s history.
“The Redskins are a traditional team. We love our team. We have people who came from all over the country to visit us. The Bravehearts? It’s not the Redskins,” Jones said.
Meanwhile, Montour won’t let up on the battle.
“We stand tall today and proud in order to change the history and the future for our children, for our grandchildren,” Montour said.
The group says they will continue to protest until they see change, not only with the Redskins, but also schools and other organizations that use Indian mascots. In Colorado there are currently 11 high schools using the name “Indians” and one with the name “Redskins.”