SAN FRANCISCO — The Dallas Cowboys’ mascot is back in court, facing a lawsuit alleging that he has discriminated against black and Hispanic players.
The Dallas-based American Civil Liberties Union announced Friday that it filed a lawsuit against Dallas County District Attorney Devon Anderson alleging that the mascot, “Dontcha,” violates the rights of African-American and Hispanic athletes, as well as black athletes’ “rights to equal treatment under the law.”
Dontchas legal team, however, argued in court papers that the complaint is “absurd” and that Anderson was trying to “slander” the team and its mascot by using it to further a racial agenda.
“The Dontcha mascot is not just an NFL mascot.
He is the face of the NFL in Dallas, the Dallas Cowboys, and across the country,” attorney Jonathan W. Binder wrote in a court filing.
“His presence is an integral part of the public’s image of the Dallas sports franchise and the Dallas-area.”
The ACLU claims that the “D.C.A. is attempting to smear the character of the Dontchaseas team and the Cowboys by using him as a symbol of a racist agenda.”
In a statement, Anderson said the lawsuit is “without merit” and said the city has “no interest in harming the Cowboys.”
“The city of Dallas, like any other business, has a right to conduct business in a manner that reflects the values of its customers and employees,” Anderson said in the statement.
“I welcome the lawsuit as an important step to help ensure the city remains a welcoming and welcoming place for all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability or any other characteristic protected by law.”
The NFL has a history of racially charged mascots, including “D’ontchashan,” a Native American man whose name has been a focal point in the protests against the racist National Anthem.
Dontchi is the third mascot to go before a court.
The last was a white male named Dontchew.
The lawsuit comes as Dontchalys legal team is seeking a permanent injunction that would prevent the city from removing the mascot from the grounds.
The suit alleges that Anderson and his lawyers “have used a racist, racist, anti-Black and anti-Hispanic mascot to further their agenda.”
The case is the latest in a string of cases that have come to light involving the Cowboys and the mascot.
Last week, the NFL Players Association and the NFL Foundation filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in an attempt to force the league to remove a mascot from public displays.
In January, the league suspended two players for using the “Blackman” chant during a preseason game.
The league also suspended former Cowboys quarterback Kellen Moore for five games for using a racial slur during a pregame speech in a 2016 game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Cowboys are currently scheduled to play at the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.