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With NFL in China Within UN, Redskins Name Issue Here Too - like FYROM?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 30 -- Three days before the National Football League's Super Bowl XLVIII is played in the New Jersey Meadowlands, there was another NFL sighting at the UN. The "NFL in China" spoke in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, where the league's concussion litigation was discussed the day before.

   Perhaps less to the liking of the NFL, last week Inner City Press asked at the UN's January 24 noon briefing:

Inner City Press: it’s said that Ivan Šimonovic, assistant on human rights, based in New York, is going to meet with Native American representatives about the name of the Washington Redskins today? I want to know: is that true? Will we get a readout if it is true

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq: Well, first of all, we don’t provide readouts of all meetings of all officials, normally just with the Secretary-General, and sometimes with some other key officials. I would doubt that there would be one on this. I don’t have a confirmation on this meeting is taking place, but I can check.

  After 5 pm that day, the UN sent this to Inner City Press:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 6:14 PM
Subject: Your question on meeting with Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonovic
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonovic met today with Native American representatives. He listened to and took note of their concerns. Mr. Šimonovic meets regularly with a wide range of civil society representatives.

  And Simonovic himself, to Inner City Press: "I met Mr. Halbritter upon his request in my office Friday."

  It's appreciated -- but what about the Redskins, what's now called "the name issue"? That same phrase is used with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or FYROM, an issue which the UN and the parties have not solved. Will the Redskins be different, as the owner reaches out to pollsters and George Allen?

  On January 29 a meeting about concussions was held in the UN featuring current and former NFL players. Without much explanation, it is being sponsored by Malawi; a co-sponsor is Dominion Capital, which has invested in bio-medical companies involved in concussions.

Inner City Press, while covering the UN Security Council meeting about War and Its Lesson, obtained an "Internal Use Only" technical agenda, which lists among the participants former New York tight end Jeffrey Shockey and current New York Giant safety Antrel Rolle. (And see below.)

Skipping out on the Security Council debate for a moment, in the Trusteeship Council Chamber was NFL Network correspondent Andrea Kremer, asking her own questions about the NFL Concussion Litigation (the program said, "No Q&A.") Some players are angry they will not be helped; some have no insurance. Inner City Press tweeted photo here.

  In the next panel, a sports trainer said that younger child were happiest in wrestling because they were not competing. A mother from Concord, Massachusetts recounted having to withdraw one of her triplets from football. It was interesting.

  But one wondered: why was this in the UN? Why did Malawi sponsor it? Why was it in the UN Media Alert, with its "No Q&A" and financial firm sponsorship? The event took, apparently for the whole day, the UN Delegates' Dining Room, for which Aramark receives the funds. What's the UN's role in this?

  Also listed among participants in the "for internal use only" technical agenda were Ben Urecht, Clinton Portis, current Carolina Panthers cornerback Drayton Florence, Hank Baskett, Jermichael Finley, Jermaine Wiggins, Sidney Rice, Steve Weatherford and Darrell Reid; boxer Andre Berto and MLS player Tony Sanneh. His father, research finds, came from Gambia. What was the Malawi connection, then? Watch this site.


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