Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2015

50 Senators Tell NFL to Rename Washington Redskins (Video)

Washington Redskins senators NFL Roger Goodell Commissioner

Cantwell wants the NFL to rename the Washington Redskins. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Half of the Senate is urging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to change the name of the Washington Redskins.

A letter led by Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., signed by 49 senators who caucus with the Democrats, urges Goodell to use NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling as a precedent.

“Today, we urge you and the National Football League to send the same clear message as the NBA did: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports. It’s time for the NFL to endorse a name change for the Washington, D.C. football team.”

The senators called the name a slur against Native Americans.

“Every Sunday during football season, the Washington, D.C. football team mocks their culture. The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur.”

Signers included Maryland’s two senators, Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin. The Redskins play their home games in Maryland.

Reid has repeatedly called on the NFL to change the name, including last month on the Senate floor, when he urged the league to change the name and end what he called the Redskins’ “tradition of racism.”

Virginia’s two senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, were among a handful of Democrats who did not sign the letter, along with Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

A separate letter was sent to Goodell by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., also calling for a name change.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has repeatedly vowed never to change the name of the team.

Efforts by some in Congress to force a name change legislatively stalled last year.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Commissioner Goodell:

This month, Americans applauded the rapid and decisive reaction from new National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver to the racist remarks of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Commissioner Silver sent a clear message that racism will not stand in the NBA.

Today, we urge you and the National Football League to send the same clear message as the NBA did: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports. It’s time for the NFL to endorse a name change for the Washington, D.C. football team.

The despicable comments made by Mr. Sterling have opened up a national conversation about race relations. We believe this conversation is an opportunity for the NFL to take action to remove the racial slur from the name of one of its marquee franchises.

Professional sports have tremendous power to influence American society and strengthen our communities. From Jesse Owens to Jackie Robinson to Billie Jean King, athletes have often been a driving force for equality and diversity in our nation.

Now is the time for the NFL to act. The Washington, D.C. football team is on the wrong side of history. What message does it send to punish slurs against African Americans while endorsing slurs against Native Americans?

This is a matter of tribal sovereignty – and Indian Country has spoken clearly on this issue. To this point, we have heard from every national Tribal organization, including the National Congress of American Indians, United South and Eastern Tribes, and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians. These organizations represent more than 2 million Native Americans across the country and more than 300 Tribes with government-to-government relationships with the United States. These organizations have passed resolutions in support of a name change as they find the Washington, D.C. football team name to be racially offensive.  We have heard from tribes across the country, including the Navajo Nation, the largest tribe in the Country, who oppose this name.  To understand this viewpoint, we urge you to watch the video Proud To Be posted on the National Congress of American Indians website.

At the heart of sovereignty for tribes is their identity. Tribes have worked for generations to preserve the right to speak their languages and perform their sacred ceremonies. Many of today’s tribal leaders have parents and grandparents who were punished and prosecuted for practicing their ceremonies or speaking their languages. That is why tribal leaders worked with Congress to enact laws like the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, the Native American Languages Act, the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.  These are all federal laws intended to protect and respect tribal culture and identity. Yet every Sunday during football season, the Washington, D.C. football team mocks their culture.

The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur. We urge the NFL to formally support and push for a name change for the Washington football team.

 

Comments (36)

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  1. gbman

    May 22, 2014
    11:55 a.m.

    AWWWWW this is TERRIBLE, it hasn’t hurt anyone in 50 some years,, Like these “”IDIOTS “” have nothing else to do and get paid for it, I’m in the wrong business…

    • tomshefchik

      May 22, 2014
      4:46 p.m.

      You mean meant YOU haven’t been hurt by it. Get some emotional maturity already!

      • Rudy Schulz

        May 23, 2014
        9:55 p.m.

        Emotional maturity? You should take your own advice.

      • Jude Ossowski

        May 24, 2014
        12:43 p.m.

        Maybe you can tell us who has really been “hurt” by it, tom. When the Huron Indians were asked about Eastern Michigan changing its name from “Hurons” to “Chargers”, BEFORE being asked about it, the reply was that the Indians were proud to have their name used by the team. The Indians attending a school in Frau Cantwell’s home state have stated they are PROUD to have the name used. Political correctness is a sign of moral weakness.

      • TC

        May 27, 2014
        8:58 a.m.

        The pot calling the kettle black. Liberal hypocracy

  2. Layla

    May 22, 2014
    3:08 p.m.

    ANYBODY on this list needs to be voted out of office. Where are the damned jobs you are supposed to be focusing on? Do you realize that nearly 100 Million Americans are out of work, permanently?

    None of you deserve to serve.

    • tomshefchik

      May 22, 2014
      4:51 p.m.

      Re-pig-lickin’s have blocked every effort our POTUS has put forward to help create jobs. For every past Re-pig-lickin’ president, because they never failed to put the US economy in the toilet, including Saint Reagan the Demented, congress passed stimulus bills. But heck no, not under Obama. The nation must suffer because of the likes of you.

      • Rudy Schulz

        May 23, 2014
        9:23 p.m.

        name something the President tried to do that would have created jobs? Oh wait, how about those “shovel ready jobs”? nope they didn’t exist. So please name something.

      • TC

        May 27, 2014
        8:57 a.m.

        Misinformed name calling liberals are so tragic

  3. Layla

    May 22, 2014
    3:12 p.m.

    Who signed this letter? Have the guts to tell us.

    • WhereIsTony

      May 22, 2014
      3:42 p.m.

      did you read the article?

      “Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., signed by 49 senators who caucus with the Democrats…

      Virginia’s two senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, were among a handful of Democrats who did not sign the letter, along with Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.”

    • tomshefchik

      May 22, 2014
      4:47 p.m.

      What the heck difference does it make? If you don’t get why the name must be changed you are a hopeless bigot.

      • Rudy Schulz

        May 23, 2014
        9:13 p.m.

        the point is that there are more important thnings the Senate should be doing than playing “feel good” politics.

  4. tomshefchik

    May 22, 2014
    4:44 p.m.

    What wrong with the Washington W0PS, Sp!ks, M!ks, or G00ks?

    • Rudy Schulz

      May 23, 2014
      9:12 p.m.

      Nothing

  5. marty in massachusetts

    May 22, 2014
    9:52 p.m.

    How did Elizabeth Warren AKA the fake indian vote. Does she think it is terrible to “Check the Box” taking away opportunities from true native americans??

  6. Rudy Schulz

    May 23, 2014
    9:54 p.m.

    Good to know that football is more important than caring for vets at the VA

  7. Jude Ossowski

    May 24, 2014
    12:38 p.m.

    I am so pleased to discover that all of our nations real problems have been solved. No more unemployment problems, no communist earnings theft and redistribution programs. No illegal aliens stealing services paid for b American taxpayers. No national debt or deficit. A booming economy. What’s that? We still have all of these problems? Then why does Congress have the time to interfere in the operation of yet ANOTHER private enterprise? Can anyone tell me the part of the Constitution that allows the federal government to interfere? BETCHA CAN’T!! More useless, political grandstanding by a bunch of ignorami with too mush time on their hands and too much money to waste.

  8. Sam Fuels

    May 25, 2014
    3:57 a.m.

    Hussein Obama is a delusional marxist.

  9. Magic Newton

    May 25, 2014
    2:07 p.m.

    It’s also important to remember that Hussein Obama’s regime actively attempted to deny life-saving health care to 10 year old Sarah Murnaghan: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/351196/sarah-murnaghan-and-death-panel-marc-siegel

  10. kozanne

    June 18, 2014
    12:49 p.m.

    Stuck on stupid, every one of them. The whole world is on fire, and these people are spending taxpayer dollars writing this crap?
    I say we rename the team the “D.C. Cesspool’

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