May 22, 2014, 09:39 am
50 senators call for Redskins name change
By Mario Trujillo
Fifty Democratic senators are pushing the NFL to change the name of the Washington Redskins.
In a letter sent Thursday to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday, the group urged him 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," said the 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."
Reid and other Democratic leaders have long called for a name change, but the letter signals the largest collective call in Congress.
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.
Only five Democratic senators did not sign the letter, including both Virginia senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), a centrist lawmaker who is locked in a tough reelection fight, also did not sign the letter, along with Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).