Native Americans are sending a loud message to the Washington Redskins.
A northern California tribe paid for a commercial to air in seven major U.S. cities during halftime of Tuesday's NBA Finals game, their latest plea for the NFL team to change its "racist" name and mascot.
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"In my opinion, the 'r' word is just as derogatory a slur as the 'n' word," Marshall McKay, chairman of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, said in a video about the "Change the Mascot" campaign.
The minute-long commercial, called "Proud to Be," is a shortened version of a similar ad that was posted online earlier this year. In it, a narrator lists adjectives that could describe Native Americans -- "Indian," "Navajo, "Sioux," "Spiritualist," "strong" -- before the camera zooms in on a Redskins helmet, "the one thing they don't" call themselves.
The ad, which premiered Sunday night in Miami during Game 2 of the NBA finals, was slated to play in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. during the Game 3 broadcast.
The tribe wouldn't say how much it paid for the prime TV spot, except that it was a "substantial" amount.
The video was produced by the National Congress of American Indians.
Despite a growing push to change their team name, the Washington Redskins have remained insistent that it must stay. Redskins President Bruce Allen recently wrote a letter to senators stating the team "has always been respectful of and shown reverence toward the proud legacy and traditions of Native Americans."
Native Americans' Anti-Redskins Ad Airs During NBA Finals