Leaders of the Fritz Pollard Alliance — an influential nonprofit group that was instrumental in forcing the league to revise its minority-hiring practices — said they tried to discuss the issue with Snyder at an intense August meeting. Instead, they said, they were shouted down by the executive director of the foundation he created to help Native Americans.

The alliance, which is headed by former players, also told The Washington Post that, at a pair of annual gatherings, they voiced concerns about the moniker to NFL leadership — including once to Commissioner Roger Goodell — but were told it was a matter only the team could address.

At a dead end, alliance leaders have taken their opposition public on Martin Luther King Jr. Day for maximum impact. The group has a history of spurring substantial change in the NFL, making the proclamation among the most significant victories for opponents of the name.