The Washington Commanders complicated history with the Redskins took another turn as a Native American organization sued to bring back the old name. As reported by NBC Montana, the Native American Guardians Association (NAGA) have filed a lawsuit against the Washington Commanders. This comes in response to them allegedly defaming the organization. They are seeking $1.6 million in damages.
Those named in the lawsuit are principal owner Josh Harris, sales representative Matthew Laux and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). It comes as text messages revealed that Laux wrote,
"You understand the people that started this petition is a fake group right? We only have 7 suites left so if you truly loved your team you wouldn’t let a name prevent you from attending the games you want to be at."
In response, Chad LaVeglia told The National Desk at NBC,
"We would like them to sit down at the table with NAGA and hear what they have to say and they also have to fix the harm that they’ve done to NAGA’s reputation by calling them fake and attacking their very identity.”
They have also claimed that the owner is listening from only one group and not from them. LaVeglia said,
"Mr. Harris apparently only feels its important to hear from one group of Native Americans while ignoring the rest. If he lets other people in on the discourse, I think he would learn a lot.”
One of the central claims in the lawsuit is with regards to the historical logo, which they said should be brought back along with the Redskins name for the Washigton Commanders. They allege,
“The logo on the Redskin’s helmet is an actual person, it’s Chief White Calf. Every time they go out on that field, they were honoring Chief White Calf and they were battling on the football field with the same honor and integrity and courage. They should continue to honor that.”
Unlikely that the Washington Commanders go back to the Redskins name
The Washington Commanders are unlikely to go back to the Redskins name. They have called the lawsuit without merit and have promised to address the matter in court.
Originally formed as the Boston Braves in 1932, they became the Boston Redskins in 1933 before moving to Washington in 1933. In 2020, they dropped the name after the racial reckoning following the George Floyd murder, as their name literally referred to a skin color.
They have since switched to being the Washington Commanders since 2022 and there are no indications that they are inclined to revisit the matter.