Change the Name and Imagery of the Kansas City Chiefs football team

Clark Hunt, Co-owner, CEO and Chairman; Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner

The recent decision of the Kansas City Chiefs to no longer allow fans to wear “headdresses and face paint styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures” in an attempt to distance themselves from blatant racism while keeping established brand identity, indicates that management understands the negative social impact of their brand; and national sports franchises, such as Kansas City, Missouri’s National Football League organization, the Chiefs, should not be a vehicle of institutionalized racism.

The harmful stereotypes associated with the Kansas City team’s use of race-based mascots permeate every facet of society in and around Kansas City. Our youth are subjected to advertisements on radio, TV, and marketing displays in every grocery store, including pork chops advertised as the “tomahawk chop” and “Can’t Stop the Chop” ads featuring football fans singing the stereotypical song and doing the tomahawk chop. Additionally, fast food features ads that they will “feed the tribe,” and a local Sonic’s sign stating, “KC CHIEFS’ WILL SCALP THE REDSKINS FEED THEM WHISKEY SEND – 2 – RESERVATION,” add to dehumanizing propaganda our youth are bombarded with, leading to lowered self-esteem and self-worth, and potentially leading to increased violence against American Indian youth; and there has been scientific research conducted to determine the harmful psychological effects these “Native” sports mascots on our Native youth.

The American Psychological Association has determined that these representations also undermine the ability of Native nations and people to portray themselves accurately as distinct and diverse cultures, and that stereotypical images are a dominant culture’s prejudiced representations of a racial or ethnic minority group; (Urging the U.S. Secretary of Education to Take Substantive Action Regarding Schools with “Native” Sports Stereotypes, NCAI Resolution ATL-14-011, October 26-31, 2014).

We are calling on the Kansas City Chiefs to cease their use of racialized Native American branding by eliminating all imagery of or evocative of Native American culture, traditions, and spirituality from their team franchise by changing their name including the logo. This includes the use of Native terms, drum, arrows, or monikers that assume the presence of Native American culture and apply the NFL’s “zero tolerance” for on-field use of racial and homophobic slurs to all races and ethnic groups, especially Native Peoples.

The Kansas City Chiefs continue to use Native American imagery and stereotypical behavior, while they and the NFL hypocritically campaign to #EndRacism. It is an embarrassment to our city for the football team to continue to use a name and imagery from the pre-Civil Rights Act era. The Chiefs must change their name and discontinue their use of Native imagery and behaviors. It is past time for a true understanding of Native American people and their contributions to society, rather than the continued caricature.  

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To: Clark Hunt, Co-owner, CEO and Chairman; Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner
From: [Your Name]

Clark Hunt and Roger Goodall,
We, the undersigned, are calling on the Kansas City football team to change their name and associated imagery. It is racist and dehumanizing to use Native Americans and imagery associated with Native Americans for profit and entertainment. For decades the team’s name, imagery, and fan behaviors have been opposed and protested by Native Americans and Native organizations, including a resolution passed in November 2020 by the National Congress of American Indians specifically calling on Kansas City football team to change their name and imagery. For more than 15 years, national psychologist and sociologist associations have called for an end to Native American mascots due to their detriment to youth, including non-Native youth.
It is apparent you are aware the imagery and fan behavior and opposing team behavior is racist since headdresses and face paint are now banned in the stadium, however, you continue to play the chant to accompany the racist "tomahawk chop."
It is time to follow the lead of other national and local teams that are changing their mascots and imagery, including the Washington football team and Cleveland baseball team. It is shameful and hypocritical to continue to hold onto detrimental and racist traditions, mascots, and imagery while professing to #EndRacism.
It is past time to change to a name, imagery and brand that everyone in Kansas City can be proud.