While the rampant use of Native American imagery continues to be debated, adidas is looking to take action.
At the White House Tribal Nations Conference last week, adidas introduced an initiative that would contribute money and help build resources to schools that give a second thought to having Native American “mascots, nicknames, imagery, or symbolism.”
“Sports give young people limitless potential. Young athletes have hope, they have desire, and they have a will to win,” said Eric Liedtke, adidas Group executive board member said at the conference. “Importantly, sports must be inclusive.”
The issue has been brought to the forefront thanks to the hotly contested NFL team, the Washington Washington Football Team. The name is considered derogatory and said to paint Native Americans in a negative light. A campaign called Change the Mascot is calling for the D.C. team to change its name, saying, “Native Americans are the only group in the United States subjected to having a racial slur as the mascot of a prominent professional sports team.”
The NFL team is just the tip of the iceberg, though: Fivethirtyeight reports there are currently 2,128 schools in the U.S. with Native American mascots.