Two members of Congress write letter to Goodell urging Redskins name change

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At his press conference before Super Bowl XLVIII, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated the NFL’s stance that they are “listening and being respectful for people who disagree” with the use of the name Redskins but that the team presents “the name in a way that honors Native Americans.”

Two members of Congress disagree with Goodell on that point and plan to send a letter to the commissioner to express their views and urge him to change his stance on the issue. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chairwoman of the Indian Affairs Committee, and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), a member of the Native American Caucus, are joining forces on the letter.

“The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” Cantwell and Cole wrote, via the New York Times. “The National Football League is on the wrong side of history. It is not appropriate for this multibillion-dollar 501(c)(6) tax-exempt organization to perpetuate and profit from the continued degradation of tribes and Indian people.”

Cantwell also said she would “definitely” look into ways including a look into the league’s tax-exempt status to press for a change, something other members of Congress have done by pushing a bill that would require the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office to cancel any registration that used the term “redskin” in reference to Native Americans for commercial purposes. The same office rejected a trademark application from “Redskins Hog Rinds” on the basis of the word Redskins being offensive late last year.

An NFL spokesman said the league has not received the letter and won’t have a comment. Redskins spokesman Tony Wylie did offer a response from the team.

“With all the important issues Congress has to deal with, such as a war in Afghanistan to deficits to health care, don’t they have more important issues to worry about than a football team’s name? And given the fact that the name of Oklahoma means ‘red people’ in Choctaw, this request is a little ironic,” Wylie wrote in an email to the Times.

At this point, there’s no reason to think this will be more successful than other attempts to get the Redskins to change their name. Team owner Dan Snyder has been steadfast in his vows to keep the name in place and it seems unlikely that anything short of the NFL changing their view will get Snyder to change his.

110 responses to “Two members of Congress write letter to Goodell urging Redskins name change

  1. Oh thank God, it’s been like 12 minutes since PFT last had a redskins name article. Or let me simplify this……

  2. Shouldnt congress be focusing on other matters like fixing this countrys econemy, unemployment rate, the increasing debt and this joke of a prez and obamacare…comes to show you the lack of and where the priorities lie…hurry before im voted out

  3. Two members of congress need to get their priorities in order. ** is what the headline should read.

  4. The classic “doesnt have Congress have other stuff to do” excuse.

    Do you realized there are over 530 members of Congress?

    I think a few can find time to cause Danny Boy some trouble.

  5. After a great deal of time to reflect, Synder has decided to rename the team to reflect a 21st century mentality.

    Starting next year, get ready for the Washington Injuns.

  6. Good ol Congress. Barely work and when they do they’re drunk and focusing on things not important. How about you work on that NSA problem congress as you sure have free time to jump in on sports!

  7. “This seems like a good use of a congressman’s time. On the people’s dollar.”

    Actually, it’s a very good use of their time.

    Feel free to disagree; it’s a free country.

  8. Meanwhile elsewhere in the NFC EAST,the New York Football Giants don’t have to worry about changing our great name.we have issues like,do we have to reinforce our trophy case for the championships that await us.#WELOLATYOU.

  9. I think the main thing that needs to be discussed is this — why is the nfl tax exempt??!! Why do we have to pay +30% for taxes every year and the nfl doesn’t pay squat. That’s what the Congress men and women should be focusing on — not a nickname!

  10. There will always be “better things to do”. A short letter asking the name to be changed is not a big deal. The name needs to change. It shouldn’t take an act of congress to get this racist name changed. And anyone saying it isn’t a racial slur is lying to themselves. Just look at the man who founded the team.

  11. how does changing the name placate the offended groups? They will then claim to be offended when they view records or statistics, when they watch historical footage, when they go to the hall of fame. It seems that a simple name change will do little to satisfy th offended. it seems to me that those that simply advocate a name change really aren’t that offended at all.

  12. these members of congress should go fix their constituents problems instead of worrying about this non-issue. he isn’t going to change it and that’s that. he owns the team, his choice, everyone else should butt the hell out. until fans, real fans, not the one’s that are paid to pickett by agenda and publicity, stop coming to games, why the hell should he.

  13. Oklahoma means “The Land of the Red People” Is that offensive too? There are plenty of HS teams on reservations whose mascots are also named Redskins. They do not find it offensive at all. They believe it to be honorable. The only people this name offends are white people. Get over it

  14. I hope.when these two.morons are.up.for.re-election.they are both.defeated. Our.county is.led.by a.moron.in the white house and.we have politicians.like these.two.who have to.waste.the peoples.time.on.a.non issue. Enough..

  15. No we are not “going the way of North Korea”; we are evolving from a racist and anti-intellectual past.

  16. It’s meant to honor natives. Leave it alone congress. As mentioned above….big waste of tax payer money! This has been the worst, do nothing congress in US history.

  17. So two members of the most useless government body are going to write letters……Well, that will show them.
    I live in Washington State where Maria Cantwell is from, and I promise her and everyone else I will wear my REDSKINS gear every where I go. I have the REDSKINS logo on the back of my truck so everyone can see I’m a REDSKINS fan. And if anyone tries to tell me I can’t wear my REDSKINS gear and show people that I’m a REDSKINS fan….I’ll simply say, “Hail to the REDSKINS”.

  18. Ok, real question for everyone reading this. The name redskin is suppose to be a racist slur…so heres my question for everyone…has anyone ever seen a native american and though..redskin…?? Racist or not im sure people seen blacks or mexicans and said or thought the racist term for either sometime in your life…but have you ever said look a redskin????
    Seriously please answer this with a reply below…thx

  19. The fact that Oklahoma means land of the red people is an attempt at misdirection. Oklahoma is not a slur, Redskins is.

    I agree, the NFL is on the wrong side of history.

  20. I’m offended by the “Democrats” and “Republicans” but I don’t just want a name change.

  21. Other than the lyrics in the Anthrax (?) song, can any of the offended cite one instance of redskins being used as a racist term/pejorative? Anyone?
    Just because it sounds racist doesn’t mean it is. The word simply does not mean what the PC crowd thinks it does. It never has but if you keep saying it you are bound to get a bunch of bandwagoners to believe it because they won’t look it up for themselves. That’s why the idea is spreading.

  22. Well here we are.

    Welcome to the long, long off season of non-football related NFL stories.

    July can’t get here fast enough.

  23. The interesting part, here, is that with each article posted, here, PROTESTING the Redskin name, the numbers are continuing to swing AGAINST pushing for a change.

    Please post more, until this is a complete non-issue.

    Shouldn’t be long.

  24. Native Americans do face serious issues in the country: education, employment, health, drug use, alcoholism, etc. How will changing the name of the Washington Redskins fix any of these problems?

  25. bcajun says:

    “Shouldnt congress be focusing on other matters like fixing this countrys econemy, unemployment rate, the increasing debt and this joke of a prez and obamacare…comes to show you the lack of and where the priorities lie…hurry before im voted out”

    Maybe the government should focus on enforcing spell check or, hell, even education.

    Me jus sezin’!

  26. Finally! Bi-Partisan support for SOMETHING.

    Also, Snyder CHANGE THE NAME!
    Native Americans, on top of being insulted by this slur are probably insulted by you team’s lack of quality play- I know I am.

  27. I wonder if Congressman Cole sent a letter to Kingston High School in Oklahoma requesting they do the same

  28. Is this redeeming push coming from the same government who treated them with so much respect years ago?

    I get it…..pretty much treat them like savages, but be darned if anyone is going to put a decal on a football helmet and scream, “lets go redskins”

    Just another example of the person who sticks out their offended chin waiting for someone to slap it.

  29. With the Congress having only a 20% approval rating, I guess I can see why. They need to stick to the important stuff.

  30. Cantwell (D) & Cole (R) teaming up to use extortion of the NFL’s 501(c)(6) status because the Redskins won’t change their name. Liberty?
    The real simple version: The NFL teams pay all the taxes they’re supposed too, the NFL itself is like an office that manages the teams and collects dues from the member teams which go out as salary for the elected officers. That’s the reality now the social/commies can argue about what they think other people should get paid.

  31. “Congress” writes a letter and people are supposed to care? 90% of the people in the US don’t want the name changed.

    — there was a time when 90% of the people in America favored slavery.

  32. ThiS is ignorance at its best. All of you not understanding why this is an ordeal then educate yourself. The term does not refer to the color of their skin it was a term used as bounty hunters tortured a man of his nation. That’s right not a Native American cause we never called this America. Not an Indian cause we dot have a dot on our forehead. If you doubt me then read and educate you pitiful self before you prove just how ignorant you really are. But for all you lazy people out there call any tribal office or phd in American studies and find out for yourself.

  33. Congress should DO THEIR JOBS not worry about the name of a team.
    Resign if that’s what they are concentrating on. Let someone else get a chance to screw things up.

  34. WACANHFL says:
    Feb 9, 2014 9:01 PM
    Finally! Bi-Partisan support for SOMETHING.

    Also, Snyder CHANGE THE NAME!
    Native Americans, on top of being insulted by this slur are probably insulted by you team’s lack of quality play- I know I am.

    Of all the things we need Republicans and Democrats to work together on this should be about issue #1250.

  35. What’s not to get? People are as offended as they would be by the Dallas Crackers, the Atlanta Pickaninnies and the San Francisco Coolies. The question is what’s taking so long?

  36. So,
    calling Native Americans “Red People” isn’t racist, but calling them “Redskins” is?!
    The PC Police sure like to pick and choose the way they want us to think.

  37. Perhaps every team should change their name to something benign, like a flower or a plant. The Seattle Sunflowers. The San Francisco Ferns. The Oakland Roses. The San Diego Daffodils. I would suggest that every team be forced to change their name to something deemed offensive, but those examples would never get through the PFT censors. And that is unfortunate, because I’m sure we could come up with more than 32 of those.

  38. “This seems like a good use of a congressman’s time. On the people’s dollar.”

    Are you talking about the forty something cents in postage or… Do you think it’s really that disruptive to write a letter?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think that the team should be able to keep the name it’s had since 1932, but don’t pretend like this is some brazen misappropriation of government funds. It isn’t. Grow up.

  39. It’s ok in Cleveland with the Indians … It’s ok in Atlanta with the Braves…. It’s ok in Chicago with the Blackhawks… It’s on in ND with the Fighting Sioux… But it’s not ok in Washington with Redskins??? What a messed up country

  40. zeke2517 says: Feb 9, 2014 9:58 PM

    “This seems like a good use of a congressman’s time. On the people’s dollar.”

    Are you talking about the forty something cents in postage or… Do you think it’s really that disruptive to write a letter?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think that the team should be able to keep the name it’s had since 1932, but don’t pretend like this is some brazen misappropriation of government funds. It isn’t. Grow up.

    duece 5 says:

    I couldn’t DISAGREE with you more.

    It is time/money/phone calls/networking/prodding/dinner deals/lobbying, etc, etc, costing us-THE OVERTAXED by this lack of control Obama Administration-the American public true $$$$$$-YOUR TAX DOLLARS for this issue…….not a mere 40 cents…….really…..did you write that????

    If you did, you need to go to scholl and understand the true dollar costs for something such as this……I assure you, IT IS NOT 40 cents!!!!!

    Stop the overspending…….we need less government…..period!!!!!

  41. So long as the refrain of “compromise = defeat” is sung, there is no such upside in ANY elected members focusing on the important issues facing this nation.

    You see, the “important” stuff is hard. Solving it might just require you to vote for stuff your constituents don’t necessarily like. And then folks representing the letter (R or D) after you name might decide to “primary” you, ending your lucrative political career.

    As such, congressmen taking sides in such a clear-cut debate is a dog-whistle for the folks you represent the R or the D as to your worthiness, and as such is a perfectly cromulent use of a congressman’s time.

  42. Just to clear up what Oklahoma means in Choctaw; it’s “home of the red man”
    It’s not “red people”
    This is what I was taught in Oklahoma History class in 9th grade.
    You’re stretching to compare my state’s name to Redskins.

  43. Why has this just become an issue recently? Did someone wake up one day and say…”man that football teams name offends me”
    In all honestly in today’s day and age the term redskin is more associated with the football team than anything else. The meaning of words change.

  44. The NFL is a private company and they don’t have to answer to the public. Plus, I thought we still had troops fighting a war. Why not worry about problems that matter.

  45. It’s not as if Congress is actually accomplishing anything else, so why not do something for human decency?

  46. Man, good thing out country has so few important things to worry about that members of Congress can waste time to pursue such a stupid topic.

    I liked them better when the government shut down

  47. thealmightybigblue says:
    Feb 9, 2014 8:09 PM
    Meanwhile elsewhere in the NFC EAST,the New York Football Giants don’t have to worry about changing our great name.we have issues like,do we have to reinforce our trophy case for the championships that await us.#WELOLATYOU.

    ====================================

    That’s not true. Mara is negotiating with the NFL Network as we speak. He trying to buy the rights to “Pick Magnet” to show his support for Eli Manning. It’s not like Darren Sharper will be using the moniker anytime soon.

  48. Issa wastes inordinate amounts of time and taxpayer money chasing ghosts.

    Congressman enjoy wasting time and taxpayer money thinking of garbage to call productivity.

    I never knew Sami Sosa couldn’t speak English until Congress investigated steroid use on Capitol Hill.

    It’s times like these that make me feel dumber for having any faith in Government.

  49. Names that honor Native Americans are names like: “Braves” (which is the original name for the team) and “Chiefs” and the proper names for the tribes. I say go back to the original name, maybe New England and Washington could switch team locations.

  50. Obama’s inability to do his job (and make himself look like a moron…..should offend everyone who voted for him……all the idiots that voted for him….

  51. If I’m Dan Snyder, my response is as follows:

    “When Congress can get its own business in order, then maybe they’ll have some credibility when it comes to minding other people’s business. In the meantime, they should concern themselves with the nearly $18 trillion debt they’ve run up, and in the process hurt the entire nation be devaluing our currency.

    When Congress can actually balance a budget and start paying off the national debt, then they’ll have some credibility in other matters.”

  52. I was on board with changing it.

    Since the US politicians now want it changed, I am really thinking how stupid I must be.

    Count on a name change before government learns how to be responsible.

  53. In the same letter these congressman should have asked to get the Koon’s dealership name changed along with Spic and span cleaner. Somehow those names have always been alright with people.

  54. “Don’t they have anything better to do” is the same criticism used by bigots during the Civil Rights era. This country has been at war for most of its 238-year existence and has had a growing budget deficit for 14 years. These matters do not, and should not, impede social progress.

    You aren’t allowed to skip history class and then act like you know politics better than career politicians.

  55. Hey Tom Cole… About that Redskins name change… Do you plan on condemning and demand that the Kingston High School in Kingston, Oklahoma remove the Redskins name from their program as well? I would think that this would be your first course of action since the school probably receives state funds whereas the Washington Redskins are a privately held business. I suggest you clean up your own local Oklahoma bigotry before you try foisting your opinion on the national stage.

  56. Redskins is a racist name. No matter how respectfully you claim you are saying it. It is what it is. Nor does it matter how long its been around. And making excuses is just that, making excuses. This teams name is like a giant ad to the world on the rampant bigotry in America.

  57. unbridledsexy says: Feb 9, 2014 8:10 PM

    There will always be “better things to do”. A short letter asking the name to be changed is not a big deal. The name needs to change. It shouldn’t take an act of congress to get this racist name changed. And anyone saying it isn’t a racial slur is lying to themselves. Just look at the man who founded the team.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    The 1st head coach of the Redskins was a Native American and he named the team. Enough said.

  58. laughingattheignoranceofyouall says: Feb 9, 2014 9:38 PM

    ThiS is ignorance at its best. All of you not understanding why this is an ordeal then educate yourself. The term does not refer to the color of their skin it was a term used as bounty hunters
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Um, NO… Red in Redskins is a reference to Red War Paint Worn in Battle… where are getting your information from?

  59. Two members of congrees can write?

    I’ve chenged my mind on this issue. I believe we should remove all native american references in America; rename towns, states, sports teams, no more Jeep Cherokees or Indian motorcylces. It will be as if they never existed.

  60. I’m half Choctaw and I’ll tell you,I see the full blooded side of the family wearing Redskins,and Indians stuff all the time. They like that there’s a face out there that looks a little like them. Even smiling Chief Wahoo. Also,the NFL is tax exempt,not the teams. The NFL itself doesn’t turn a profit,but the franchises do and they pay dues to the league for it to operate. Yeah,a little technical mumbo jumbo,but that’s what it is.

  61. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chairwoman of the Indian Affairs Committee, and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), a member of the Native American Caucus, are joining forces on the letter.

    “The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” Cantwell and Cole wrote, via the New York Times. “The National Football League is on the wrong side of history.

    It is not appropriate for this multibillion-dollar 501(c)(6) tax-exempt organization to perpetuate and profit from the continued degradation of tribes and Indian people.”

    This is interesting and where the real story is rooted and grounded. “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”

    This is really about denigrating American Indians/Native Americans, it’s about a way to get to a multibillion-dollar 501(c)(6) tax-exempt organization.

    Nobody cites any facts whether current or historical that represent any derogatory use of “Redskins”

    Even these 2 bullying politicians believe if they say it enough, people will get tired of hearing the contrived controversy and stop supporting the team.

    They both have connections to the Indian communities, but neither of them have started one organization to address the real issues that face those communities or put coats on their backs.

    With today’s legal eagles, why hasn’t someone sued Daniel Snyder and the NFL for knowingly continuing in a business relationship against the law with a name that derogatorily offends a nation of people.

    Daniel Snyder didn’t rob, steal from, rape and kill American Indians or take their land or remove them from mainstream America to the Reservations.

    He bought a team with a name that has been recognized even in their own communities as a name of pride.

    It’s time for politicians to do their jobs in congressional matters and keep the government running. They can’t get their own business done, but ave plenty of time to meddle in other peoples affairs.

    The American Indians could simply ask to come to Washington with a press conference and announce the case of how the name is a slur and offensive to them or the media could take their cameras and crews and bring it all to light if the name was wrongly used.

    The resolve of the owner, league and fans of whom some are American Indians stands sure and should only be changed if it truly is derogatory.

    The value of a name should be rooted and preserved in proud heritage, so those who love the Redskins and the heritage don’t take pride in derogatory slurs, but neither do we support bullies and haters who seek to make a villain out of an honest business man who is also a life long fan of the team that he now owns.

    If we are ignorant, then enlighten us with the facts and leave the manipulative rhetoric that distracts from the real truth about what America needs to do for the American Indians.

    Just like everything else that you politicians have neglected to do unless there’s some benefit to you. You won’t do what’s necessary to bring the standard of living above the poverty level for the American Indians that according to history showed you how to farm the land and cure diseases.

    Start by shutting your mouth and making your donations to the Organization of Original Americans that was started by Daniel Snyder to assist the American Indians while everyone else was running their mouths.

    Opinions don’t pay bills, dollars do. Stop hating and start donating!!

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