Fifty Democrat senators are pushing the NFL to change the name of the Washington Redskins, saying it mocks the culture of Native Americans.
In the largest call in Congress for a name change, the senators on Thursday urged NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to follow the lead of the NBA in punishing Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for making racially insensitive remarks.
“The despicable comments made by Mr. Sterling have opened up a national conversation about race relations,” read a letter spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). “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.” [READ THE LETTER.]
Reid and other Democratic leaders have long called for a name change. President Obama has also said he would change the name if he were the owner.
More than 300 tribes representing more than 2 million people have endorsed a name change, they said. The senators pointed to a number of federal laws that protect Native Americans. And they lamented the “racial slur” that Native Americans are made to watch on Sundays.
“Every Sunday during football season, the Washington, D.C., football team mocks their culture,” the senators said.
“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,” they added.