A Native American group is suing the Washington Commanders, accusing team leadership of defamation and conspiracy when it comes to changing the team name. The lawsuit seeks over $1 million in damages from team ownership, reports WUSA9.
The Native American Guardians Association (NAGA) filed the lawsuit in North Dakota, continues the report, “where the group is based. It names the Commanders, owner Josh Harris, employee Matthew Laux and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) as defendants. The 20-page suit accuses the NFL team of defamation, after Laux reportedly called the NAGA a fake group, as well as conspiracy surrounding an online petition with more than 100,000 signatures calling for the team to go back to the old name.”
That online petition says the new name is not best for the team.
“It lacks the uniqueness, emotional connection, and pride that our team’s original name embodies,” the petition reads. “The change to ‘Commanders’ dilutes our team’s identity and weakens the connection with its devoted fanbase.”
Last month, when that petition began gaining steam, WUSA9 asked Commanders Team President Jason Wright about how much conversation surrounding a name change has happened among the team’s new owners.
“Plenty,” Wright said, with a smile.
The name change process was a lengthy one, but Wright said that is not factoring in to any discussions so far.
Native American Guardians Association Project Manager Tony Andrews would like to see a return to the original team name, states the report.