BREAKING NEWS: NY Lawmakers Announce Resolution Calling for Pro Sports Leagues to Stop Using Racial Slurs

New York Lawmakers Announce Resolution Calling for Pro Sports Leagues to Stop Using Racial Slurs
Assemblyman Camara Additionally Calls on New York Media to Stop Using the Term “Redsk*n”

ALBANY- Following the NBA’s historic decision to ban Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his offensive comments about African Americans, today, New York State Assemblyman and Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus Karim Camara and New York State Senator George Maziarz, along with Assemblyman Keith Wright, Senator Joseph Griffo and Oneida Indian Reservation Representative Ray Halbritter, held a press conference announcing the introduction of legislation calling for professional sports leagues to stop using dictionary-defined racial slurs as mascots.

Assemblyman Camara said the use of the term “redsk*ns” should no longer be tolerated, “Both Webster’s dictionary and the United States government have deemed this term a racial slur. It’s outrageous that in this day and age, we have a professional football team in our nation’s capitol that intentionally demeans Native Americans.” Camara, who represents the neighborhood near where Ebbets Field once stood, continued by pointing out that New York has a special role because of its history in breaking down racial barriers in sports, particularly with Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers, “The League needs to hear from New York’s government that the NFL’s refusal to use its power to stop the use of this racial epithet dishonors the universal values of this great state.”

Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative, thanked the legislators for their leadership on this issue, "It’s incredibly heartening to see a bi partisan group of New York political leaders united in opposition to derogatory mascots in professional sports. We sincerely thank these leaders for their courageous stand pointing out that offensive slurs should be immediately relegated to the dustbin of history.”

The bill, which will be sponsored by Camara, a Democrat, in the Assembly and Maziarz, a Republican, in the Senate, will be introduced this week.
With commissioners and team owners from the NBA this week using their power to combat racism in their midst, the resolution calls on other leagues – such as the NFL – to use their power to stop promoting slurs that denigrate others on the basis of their race or ethnicity. As evidenced by the social science research referenced in the pending legislation, those slurs have negative consequences for groups targeted by the epithets.

Camara said New York should send a strong message to the NFL, who is headquartered in New York City, and its teams, many of which play in stadiums funded by taxpayer dollars, “Think about the message cities and states are sending to Native American children when they host a sporting event centered around a team using this racial slur as its name. Taxpayer dollars should not be spent subsidizing the dehumanization of a particular race or ethnic group. Likewise, in New York City this week, the NYPD and other services will be utilized at taxpayer expense when the NFL holds their draft this week at Radio City Music Hall.”

Camara applauded the New York media for its universal condemnation of the racist comments made by Donald Sterling and said there should be similarly minded actions regarding usage of the racial slur “redsk*ns, “I’m calling on all New York media outlets to stop using the term “redsk*ns” when referring to the pro football team from Washington, DC.” Several newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and the Kansas City Star have already instituted such a policy. Camara summed it up this way, “Newspaper editors and television and radio producers already have rules in place to not use particular language, including racial slurs. In a civilized society, the decision to make an exception at the expense of one race or ethnic group is particularly offensive.”


About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email FOMB08@GMAIL.COM.
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