The Washington Redskins blasted Adidas for its hypocrisy after Adidas announced that it would offer financial assistance to high schools that are willing to drop Native American mascots.
“The hypocrisy of changing names at the high school level of play and continuing to profit off of professional like-named teams is absurd,” Redskins spokesman Maury Lane said Thursday evening in a statement, according to the Washington Post. “Adidas make hundreds of millions of dollars selling uniforms to teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and the Golden State Warriors, while profiting off sales of fan apparel for the Cleveland Indians, Florida State Seminoles, Atlanta Braves and many other like-named teams.”
President Barack Obama said that he didn’t know “if Adidas made the same offer to a certain NFL team, here in Washington… But they might want to think about that as well.”
The Change the Mascot campaign, which is trying to get the Redskins to change its name, praised Adidas for “tremendous display of corporate leadership” and added that its “remarkable stand against racism” and said it “illustrates that the issue of ending the use of the R-word is not going away, but is instead gaining momentum as people understand the damaging impacts of this racial slur.” They called on “companies including FedEx, whose name adorns the Washington NFL team’s stadium, will step forward and follow adidas’s lead.”
But Adidas spokesman Michael Ehrlich told the Post that the German company would not pressure professional sports teams to change their names and would keep its endorsement deal with Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
“It’s important to remember today’s discussion is a voluntary effort and only about high schools,” Ehrlich reportedly said. “We are not mandating a change. We are committed to continuing a dialogue to look at the issue of Native images in sports and work to find solutions. Ultimately, it’s the leagues, teams, athletes, coaches and fans who decide what changes they want to make. And if they want to make a change and we have the resources to help, then we want to help.”