State Rep. Chris Rabb’s statement on the Washington Commanders name change

HARRISBURG, Feb. 4 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila, hopes the long-awaited change of the Washington NFL team name will inspire Pennsylvania public schools to do the same statewide.

“There are two schools in our commonwealth that still embrace the same team’s name once long connected to the NFL team in Washington whose origin is literally rooted in white supremacist-based, government-funded bounties for the killing and mutilation of indigenous peoples. Still, there are over 60 other school names that include ‘Indians’, ‘braves’, ‘chiefs’, ‘raiders’ and ‘warriors.’” 

Rabb has forthcoming legislation that would ban public schools from using Native mascots and prohibits any entity operating in Pennsylvania from infringing on the rightful intellectual property of Native peoples.

“We know the proven trauma inflicted on Native youth when their culture and history is reduced to caricatures,” Rabb said. “Yet, when indigenous peoples and students of various backgrounds speak up to denounce these mascots -they are confronted with racist taunts and threats, we know that apologists for these team names value convenience and privileged nostalgia over concern for those closest to the pain.”

 Rabb said he has received calls and emails from students across the commonwealth who are dealing with bullying, taunting, name-calling, and threats of harm in response to the student-led “Ban Native Mascots” movement.