by Brandon Richard
Earlier today, adidas announced an initiative to end the use of offensive Native American team names and mascots in sports. They'll start at the high school level, offering full use of their resources to any high school in the country who wants to change their logo or mascot from potentially harmful Native American imagery or symbolism. Additionally, adidas is now a founding member of a coalition that will take a deeper look at the issue.
Not everyone was pleased with adidas' new program, particularly Washington's (district, not state) professional football team, who called adidas hypocrites in a statement issued to the Washington Post.
However, there are plenty of supporters in adidas' corner on the issue, none more important than the President of the United States. At the 2015 White House Tribal Nations Conference, President Obama made the following remarks backing adidas:
“I want to give credit to adidas and I know a number of their officials are here today. They have really come up with a smart, creative approach, which is to say, alright, if we can’t get states to pass laws to prohibit these mascots, then how can we incentivize schools to think differently? And so what adidas has done is it has said to the two thousand plus schools that still have Native American/Alaskan Native mascots. It’s said, you know what, we will work with you to redesign your entire sports brand. I don't know if adidas made the same offer to a certain NFL team here in Washington, but they might want to think about that as well. I’ll tell you, for adidas to make that commitment it’s a very smart thing to do, because those schools now really don’t have an excuse. What they are saying is that one of the top sports companies in the world, one of the top brands in the world is prepared to come in and use all their expertise to come up with something that is really going to work and that the entire community can feel proud of and can bring people together and give a fresh start and I really want to give them a lot of credit.”