Redskins Offseason News: 50 US Senators Have Signed a Letter Urging the NFL To Pressure The Redskins Into Changing Their Name



NYT – Fifty members of the Senate have signed a letter to the N.F.L. to urge its leadership to press the Washington Redskins to change the team name in the aftermath of tough sanctions against the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers for racially charged comments. The position embraced by half of the Senate, and the willingness of the lawmakers to sign a formal request to Commissioner Roger Goodell, escalated the fight over the name and represented an effort to put increasing pressure on the league, which receives a federal tax break, and the ownership of the team. “The N.F.L. can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” said the letter, which was circulated by Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, and endorsed by Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, the majority leader. “We urge the N.F.L. to formally support a name change for the Washington football team.” Cantwell said that “we are going to find out if the N.F.L. can act against this kind of discrimination as quickly as the N.B.A. did.” She said she considered the Senate letter an important milestone. “Listen, it is hard to get 50 people in this place to agree on anything,” she said. Reid has made the push for the name change a top interest. He said in an interview that he could not understand the league’s resisting the senators on the name change given other pressing disputes it was navigating, including head injuries and the health of former players. “I have 22 tribal organizations in Nevada,” Reid said. “They are not mascots. They are human beings. And this term Redskins is offensive to them.” All but five Senate Democrats — Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas — signed the letter. It was not circulated among Republicans. N.F.L. officials said they had not received the letter. But a league spokesman, Brian McCarthy, provided a statement saying the league “has long demonstrated a commitment to progressive leadership on issues of diversity and inclusion, both on and off the field.” “The intent of the team’s name has always been to present a strong, positive and respectful image,” the statement said. “The name is not used by the team or the N.F.L. in any other context, though we respect those that view it differently.” The management of the Redskins, owned by Daniel Snyder, has repeatedly said that the team will not change its name and that it is meant as a tribute to the courage of Native Americans. The team has also said that many Native Americans support the name. The letter from the Senate said, however, that “Indian Country has spoken clearly on this issue.” It said that organizations representing more than two million Native Americans and 300 sovereign tribes had passed resolutions supporting a change in a team name they found to be racially offensive. The senators said the quick action the N.B.A. took against Donald Sterling, the owner of the Clippers, should be an example to the N.F.L. “We urge you and the National Football League to send the same clear message as the N.B.A. did: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports,” the letter said.

This is one of the most “strike while the iron is hot” things that you’ll ever see. Using the Clippers/Donald Sterling situation as the backbone of the argument is simply a cheap way to generate buzz and attention. Now, we can have the intent vs does intent matter when we are dealing with using the color of people’s skin as a mascot discussion til the cows come home. At the end of the day, Dan Snyder owns the team and if he wants to keep the name Redskins, he should be allowed to keep it as Redskins. No matter how racist people think it is, and no matter what the government thinks about it. He bought it, he can do as he pleases. So I’m really not sure it’s the government’s place to try and force the NFL to do something about the name. Seems way out of line. And don’t be that dumb person who is like “don’t they have better stuff to do herp derp thanks Obama” because for starters all they did was make some assistant type a letter, but also because clearly a few Senators think it’s an important enough issue that affects a group of Americans…but I don’t know, the timing of it just makes it seem disingenuous to me.


First Trebek, now 50 US Senators -none from Virginia though, obviously. They know where their bread is buttered. Gonna be a long offseason.