Billy Mills At KU

Billy Mills: A poll doesn’t give a team the right to use an offensive name


Regarding the May 20 Sports article “Snyder ‘gratified’ by poll, vows name will carry on” in the Washington Post:

When considering the serious and contentious issue of the Washington football team’s name, it is important not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Stereotyping is one such mistake. Flawed polling methodology is another.

For more than a decade, team owner Dan Snyder has used an Annenberg Public Policy Center poll that showed massive Native American support for the name as a bludgeon in the debate. But that poll had serious methodological issues: It sampled self-identified Native American respondents. It is absurd to claim that this kind of sample could possibly represent the diverse opinions of the members of 567 Native American nations.

That’s why it is incomprehensible that The Post repeated this methodological error. There is no justification for it, and it makes the results meaningless and the methodology racist.

Flawed polls cannot erase the overwhelming outcry from Native American communities. Sports fans and newspapers acting in good faith should take seriously the dozens of tribes and Native American organizations that have created a movement to demand an end to racist and damaging mascots.

Billy Mills, Fair Oaks, Calif.

The writer is the co-founder of Running Strong for American Indian Youth.

See the original post of this article on the Washington Post website

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