Fifty Senators send letter pushing NFL to change Redskins name

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It’s one thing for a random politician to speak out about the Redskins name or another to muse about the possibility of changing it on a popular national radio and TV show.  It’s quite another for 50 members of the United State Senate — FIFTY — to sign a letter to the NFL urging action on the name of the franchise owned by Daniel Snyder.


Via the New York Times, nearly half of the legislative body wants the name to be changed.

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

How significant is it that so many Senators signed off on the letter?

“Listen, it is hard to get 50 people in this place to agree on anything,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said.

The issue broke, as so many of these issues do, along party lines; all but five of the Senate’s Democrats signed the letter and no Republicans did.  Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas abstained.

“The intent of the team’s name has always been to present a strong, positive and respectful image,” the league said in a statement issued to the Times. “The name is not used by the team or the NFL in any other context, though we respect those that view it differently.”

And that’s the heart of the dilemma the NFL currently faces.  At some point in the past year, the NFL and the franchise have conceded that reasonable minds may differ on whether the name “Redskins” is a slur.  Does the league want one of its teams to carry a name on which a fair debate exists and lingers regarding whether the name represents blatant and open racism?

For the NBA, swift and decisive action was taken in response to comments made privately by Sterling.  For the NFL, the problem continues to hide in plain sight.

The best argument in support of change comes from the reality that, if the NFL were forming a team now, there’s no way it ever would be dubbed the “Redskins.”  It continues only because of its past.  At some point in the future, the present will prevail.

290 responses to “Fifty Senators send letter pushing NFL to change Redskins name

  1. The country has its highest unemployment rate in history, more people are on federal assistance than ever before, food prices are going up, there are cyber security issues at pandemic levels, and those gallons of gas are still hovering around $4 a gallon and yet our elected officials are worried about a football team’s name?????

  2. How about you 50 deadbeats do something to help the country instead of jumping on the PR wagon trying to help your cause.

  3. The Washington Silly Nannies – I like this name. I would like to thank Seth MacFarland for the idea. It also is in no way racist and it works well with their ownership group. Thumbs down if you agree!

  4. Mike you need to read a dictionary once in a while. Look up the definition of racism. It doesn’t involve words. It involves actions. Words don’t make you a racist.

  5. Heard on the news that a school will not let the children sing the song “YMCA” because there is a man dressed as an Indian in the group. It will offend the minority.

  6. I’m a DC area resident, a longtime Redskins fan, and a season ticket holder.

    It’s time to change the name.

  7. As much as Goodell would like to leave this up to Snyder this is really his issue. He don’t want to deal with it, but he’s gonna have to man up eventually.

  8. Really this gets me sick. Don’t change it Snyder! For ever it was never an issue, now all the AH want to attach their name to it. They should worry about everything else that is wrong in this country today

  9. The US Senate, now theres a contradiction of terms. Grandstanding on the flavor of the month media driven BS. Just like the alleged bully case in Miami,,,,any movement by the King of the NFL Goodell on that little item? Noooope.
    Now the US Senate, the same Senate that has don’t nothing about the lying, cheating, SOB in the White House,,,the same Senate who wanted to gut our constitution? ,,,the Same Senate who have raided our Social Security to the point of bankrupt. That same, do nothing,,US Senate that now “grand stands” the changing of a name,,,they got nothing better to do?

  10. Let me guess — 50 Democrats eager to distract the nation from the economy, healthcare, foreign policy, Gitmo, highspeed rail, collapse of our space program, domestic survelliance, memos outlining a legal basis for killing U.S. citizens without a trial, and U.S. veterans dying while on top secret VA wait lists. Oh, but they’ll save us from an NFL team.

  11. You mean they found 50 politicians to get behind a BS cause that 10 people care about but is getting a ton of publicity? Tell me more!

  12. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976):

    [Grandma Sarah notices that Lone Watie has painted his face]

    Grandma Sarah: What’s all that paint about?

    Lone Watie: It’s my death face.

    Grandma Sarah: You know, we’re sure gonna show them redskins somethin’ tomorrow. No offense meant.

    Lone Watie: None taken.

    If it was recognized as offensive in 1976, how is it not offensive nearly 40 years later?

  13. Sixty Senators voted for Obamacare, and they didn’t even know what was in the bill. So, this bit of information is meaningless

  14. What about the Chiefs? In time, that will be derogatory also. Over the next 100 years it’s possible every current team name will be offensive to someone for one reason or another.

  15. How about the senators worry more about fixing our country than messing with football?

    That is a big part of the problem with our country and leaders in Washington. Their priorities are obviously screwed up.

  16. With 11M on disability payment, the lowest level of workforce participation since 1979, a $1T+ annual budget deficits, veterans dying on waitlists, no answers for Benghazi or IRS targets, no approved budgets for years, etc., etc., ad nauseum…and this is what these senators think is important?!? Fire them all!

  17. Bunch of Liberal losers. How about you Stop extorting Dan Snyder about the name of his private businthis and worry about important things wrong in this Country.

  18. What about the Cleveland Indians?? This argument is ridiculous but IMO their name/logo is way more offensive than wash’s

    BTW congress should be working on our countries REAL problems…

  19. Likewise, this article neglects to mention that the two Senators from Virginia, both democrats, did not sign the petition. Which isn’t shocking b/c the Redskins hold their headquarters there.

    This is why it isn’t changing any time soon, and the Causeheads will have to find something else to be offended by:

    The Almighty Dollar. The sponsors aren’t going anywhere, the ad revenue isn’t going anywhere, the TV money isn’t going anywhere.

    The majority of Americans (all Americans, including Native Americans) don’t care.

  20. I understand the context with which the name is thought to symbolize, but as a business person, how is Daniel Snyder blind to the damage being done to his brand?

    It’s become more than a minority opinion, and wouldn’t it be easier to change it at this point than to continue to look like Donald Sterling Light version?

  21. Hey guys. It was 50 Senators.

    Given that the Democrats make up the entire list, Snyder should just hold out till November, because a lot of them won’t have their jobs anymore at that that point.

  22. I bet I can get 50 people to send letters to those 50 Senators asking them to focus on bigger issues in America rather than being concerned with the NFL!

  23. Doesn’t 50 senators have bigger issues than changing the name of an NFL team? Apparently other issues are not as important. I want to know who the 50 senators are and vote them out for wasting our time and money on irrelevant issues. Oh and for all of you I have Native American blood so think about that.

  24. Times have changed and reasonable people now see that the word Redskins, can be perceived as offensive to native Americans. The more that Dan Snyder digs his heels in, the bigger this issue will become.
    It’s the football that counts. Just change the name and move on. This is an unnecessary distraction for the team.

  25. Name was never a problem to the senate before. Nice to know that the country is in such good shape that the name of a team is a top priority for them. People, do the job you were elected to – you SUCK at that enough

  26. As a native, and after talking to many native guy’s about this subject,i can honestly say it doesn’t bother us natives, whats next change the Black Hawks name, these guys should stick to screwing up
    The country, and stay away from something they have no idea about, our sports…thank you

  27. 50 Senators need to be voted out of office. They are too busy playing Politically Correct rather than helping create jobs, reducing spending and lowering the deficit.

  28. Soooo ridiculous. Its been there name for so long, it took until 2013 and now all the sudden its horrible? its not meant to be derogatory, its just the name is always been. Find something better to complain about

  29. Just a note – according to the document, this was not circulated by the Democrats to the Republicans at all. That should tell you everything you need to know about the political orientation of this particular decision.

  30. Seriously, our country is going down the toilet and all these Senators are wasting time on this? They probably spent days worth of time talking about it and negotiating who will give them what if they signed off on it.


  31. Elizabeth Warren signed it which is totally ironic, considering she used Native American minority status to get hired.

  32. And by the way anyone who’s still talking about the Benghazi and IRS “scandals” is the definition of a true right wing nutjob

  33. The senators didn’t compose a letter to the NFL because they care about discrimination and plight of Native Americans. It’s an election year, and it’s a populist point of view. Nothing more.
    Our government is gross; we’ve promoted a system of career politicians that couldn’t care any less about the people the represent. Politics have become a spectator sport with only two teams in the league… root Democrat or root Republican, the end result is the same.

  34. In the same jest with which Jerry praised George for buying the Frogger machine, I say, “See Democrats, now you’re DOING something!”

  35. Agree to change name with one condition. Those 50 senaters must resign immeadiatly.

  36. I’m surprised Snyder and Goodell leading the charge – think of all the new merchandise sales.

  37. Joe Donnelly is a coward but he is an honest one because he told me he would abstain if this came up and he did. I will still not use the nickname of the team from Washington and bravo to the 50 Senators who are standing up for what is right.

  38. It’s always funny to see Congress and the Senate have like a 15% approval rate, yet they return something like 90% of incumbents. They may be idiots but credit them for rigging the game.

  39. FIFTY! 50! Half a hundred senators want the NFL team in D.C. to change its name but have no problem with the name of the most prestigious golf tournament in the USA, The Masters…HA! C’mon man!

  40. The moment I hear that something like this “went along party lines”, it invalidates the move in my book. It implies that this is nothing more than political pandering, rather than an effort to due what is truly right and, more importantly, legal.

    That doesn’t mean Washington shouldn’t change its name anyways, but I hope it isn’t forced to by only a portion of a political body, in the name of just pleasing one portion of its constituency.

  41. Is the Redskins name offensive? Let’s use Charles Krauthammer’s test:

    Which would you say:

    “There are 5 Native Americans in Congress” or

    “There are 5 Redskins in Congress”.

    I don’t agree with Krauthammer much but on this I agree: the name is offensive and will eventually be changed.

  42. The questions Goodell should ask is (1) Would he walk up to a native American & say “what up redskin” (2) If a player, coach or owner was caught on tape saying “don’t bring redskins to the games” (& not meaning anyone affiliated w/ the team) how would he respond? (3) if a player calls another player who is part native American & does not play for Washington” Damn Redskin” would they receive a 15 yard penalty?
    Difference between “Indians” & “Redskins” for a mascot is” Indians” give native Americans an identity while “Redskins” refers to skin color.

  43. It’s REALLY time to change the name. Change it to “Washington Warriors”–it sounds great and isn’t an offensive slur.

  44. I am a life long Skins fan and season ticket holder and have come around in the last couple years that the name should change. Danny is in a difficult position if he changes the name unilaterally he will anger tons of real customers to please tons of non customer (and do the right thing). But if from a PR standpoint it looks like he is forced to by the NFL he can always make it look like he has no choice. This ship has sailed and the name will change. I just fear what the new name will be as with very few exceptions all new sports team names suck. I wouldn’t be surprised if by 2016 they are the Washington Warriors with a military tie in.

  45. I’m so happy this is what my tax dollars are doing. And here I thought politicians didn’t work hard
    To change what actually matters

  46. Of course it is not mentioned that all the senators are from the democratic, left wing party that started political correctness and are taking away the right to be free in this country. The title Redskins was meant to embrace the great heritage of being Indian and the Indians that are not on the Gov’t payroll support and appreciate the honor.

  47. If Daniel Snyder thought changing the name would make more money, he would do it tomorrow. The Redskins are a brand, altering it in any way will affect the support for the team. If he changes the name and loses money, will the government write a check like they are doing for the insurance companies?

  48. Vote them out of office for wasting time on this instead of something important to the country

  49. These same 50 would probably vote in favor of legislation mandating that half of all NFL rosters be women.

  50. As soon as the politically correct police get their way here, they will simply start again somewhere else. They are never satisfied and they will never stop. Get ready Chiefs fans, you will be next.

  51. Opponents have not been able to cite a single credible instance where “redskin(s)” was actually used as a racial slur. It sounds bad so the sensitive PC brigade push forth.

  52. Let’s urge the Senate to act swiftly to cut off all federal funding for the multiple public high schools brazenly using the Redskins name. If this is an issue of racial slurring, act today or risk us thinking that this is empty political grandstanding rather than a necessary action at every level of society.

  53. The headline could just as accurately say: “Fifty senators do NOT send letter pushing NFL to change Redskins name.”

  54. “These are the same Senators that shut the government down for 3 weeks.”

    Actually, it was the ones who DIDN’T sign the letter that were the ones that shut the government down.

  55. Still have to ask why reservation teams are still happy to name themselves Redskins.

    Truthfully if that can’t be defended than you can’t change my mind.

  56. Good. If it were the Washington Whities it would have been changed LONG ago. Most here that don’t want the name change actually claim that the Confederate Flag is just about culture.

    It’s bigoted. It’s terrible. Change the name.

  57. I understand the American people elect Senators and the Senators themselves don’t accept/reject members. That said, the Senate itself has not been a bastian of diversity. Google “ethnic diversity in senate” and see the first link.

  58. Next team that would be forced to change their name will be The New York Yankees!

  59. So glad I am not a liberal I wouldn’t know what is supposed to be bad. So if a liberal doesn’t like the name Redskins then bullying is acceptable. So bullying is only okay when the liberals say that it is. What a bunch of HYPOCRITES!!!!

  60. These senators must have an election coming up. Wish they would shut their traps. They can’t govern why should they have a say in this!!!

  61. Fox news has you where they want you. Scared and panicked and oblivious. Keep up the good work people.

  62. This is the same do nothing Democrat-controlled Senate that is ignoring 200 bills that have been sent over from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

  63. We are entering Memorial Day weekend with a massive VA problem hanging over the administration’s head.

    The timing of this letter seems a bit curious. Considering those that signed it; it seems a bit like throwing a bone to the administration so that the news cycle is not about the VA mess.

  64. Yes, Mr. Obama. We will sign this letter. Anything you say, sir.
    They just want money. Cause once you change the name, you admit wrongdoing. And somebody’s gonna get paid one way or the other.

  65. Probably some the same 50 that passed Obamacare. They’re socialists.

    This letter surprises me in no way whatsoever.

  66. Been saying for a year that a government bailout for the Redskins is coming. This is the clearest sign yet.

    Snyder stands to lose huge $ with the change, and the NFL never likes to spend it’s own money when it can get government officials to give them the public’s money.

    Look for a combined effort of the NFL and politicians to make a big show at “ending racism” — just a money grab like everything else politicians do.

  67. This is called Deflection…

    I’m an independent voter…

    The Democratic Party have arrogantly gone rogue with the opportunity they’ve had this past cycle and compounded problems for Americans in their everyday lives with their misguided redistributive populist ideas to stay in office…

    They’ve failed to look at history and arrogantly think they’re somehow better and can make old, bad ideas work…

    One constant that rings true,

    Less Government = Less Problems

    As someone who has Native American Ancestry, and like many of my brothers, we see the Oneida Lobby as a minority who probably failed in their Beltway extortion tactics and are simply spending their casino dollars on Democrats rather than on health and education solutions for the entire tribe…

    If they want to engage in the American Political Process, then they should also pay taxes for same…

  68. Their jobs are to make laws not suggestion to private business. Get back to doing what you’re getting paid to do.

  69. I really want to keep the Redskins’ name… it means something more to me than some slur… I never looked at it as a slur, my friends, no matter their race or heritage, ever held my fandom of the team against me. Its only a slur to those who truly want it to be. When I hear the name and see that awesome emblem, I feel pride, not hate. This situation is nothing like the Sterling situation, to say so is a disservice to the issue and extremely disrespectful to black Americans. Some of you are using this issue to troll Skins’ fans, but others are just riding the PC wagon, shame on both, you’re a bunch of cowards. If the team were forced to get rid of its name, I would walk away with, because I’m a Redskins fan. HTTR!

  70. I stopped at a McDonalds in Maryland and the front counter had a line sign for Redskins and one for Ravens fans. As I looked at the Redskins sign it reminded me of the civil rights movement and I became offended by the name for the first time.

  71. I guess this country has no real problems since the U.S. Senate which has helped along with the other branches of government to screw this country up royally has time to discuss this non problem. Not surprising when our President spends more time on the golf course and doing his NCAA brackets then worrying about the horrifying treatment our veterans get.

  72. The first nail in the coffin came when Redskins legends Darrell Green and Art Monk said the calls for a name-change had started a valid conversation.

    The second nail (and the actual tipping point) occurred when conservative giant Charles Krauthammer wrote his editorial supporting the name change.

    The game’s not over, but it’s ending.

  73. Can we have a vote that Senators remove the word “leader” from a description of our politicians. I am totally offended at the juxtoposition of the word “leader” with “career politicians who do not successfully lead our country.”

    I mean, since we’re all worried about the proper use of words and all…

  74. I wish I could say the Senate was doing this solely because they feel the name is a slur, however, with mid-terms around the corner, and it going down party lines like that, I can only assume that it’s going to be used politically as well.

  75. OK, time for Snyder to shift and make out like a bandit on this one. Here’s how it needs to shake out:

    1. The NFL cannot force him to change the name and endure all the expense and lost of branding that would result.

    2. At the same time, I think he is eventually going to have to change it. (I hate that this is true but I do think it will happen.


    He needs to ask the NFL itself to pony up for the financial inconvenience of changing the name. Otherwise, refuse to do it.

    As a result, he’s not out any $$ on the change but yet he can cash in selling new merchandise.

    Yes, he’ll have to swallow his pride but at least he’ll make out financially.

  76. They had to get the vote done quickly so they could rush off to their four hour lunch.

  77. I just looked up a January 2014 Gallop poll to determine what Congress’ approval rating was. At that time, it stood at 13%.

    So 50% of a body that only 13% of the American people think is competant wants you to change your name.

    The funny thing about statistics is, there is always more or less you can present to make your “case.”

  78. 50 senators is not nearly half, it is half. I think they should change it if they want to but it would be odd to see them have another name but this recent push to change the name is dumb. The team has been around for 82 years, people are not happy unless they have something to complain about.

  79. Can we have all 50 of their names so we, the people, can vote for someone else when they are due up for election? Lets change their names!

  80. I didn’t realize Senators knew how to do anything other than say, “I’m more bipartisan than you”

  81. the problem here is that 50 senators had the time to write a letter about something so trivial and a non issue. I’m glad out tax dollars are doing such great work

  82. Daniel Snyder said that he’s not changing the name. So the discussion is over…. By the way, how many times have you heard someone use the term “Redskin” in a deliberately negative manner? NEVER, right? Yes, and that’s because it was never a negative term.

  83. Disband the ACLU. They are the folks behind this entire calamity from the beginnings including the movement to force schools to change mascot names.

  84. I don’t understand why Snyder continues to turn away from the merchandising bonanza that would come from a name change.

    Thousands upon thousands of fans buying the new gear for the Washington team… millions of new dollars into the coffers… and he’s digging his heels.

    This is the same genius who nearly killed the Six Flags and Johnny Rockets operations, and whose “radio empire” is in shambles.

    Never mind. I *do* understand why Snyder is digging his heels. He’s a terrible businessman.

  85. Here’s the biggest logjam in the whole process: the snag no one seems to be discussing. Snyder and the NFL posit that the name is OK because it’s not intended to offend anyone–there is no active, targeted bigotry. If the name is changed, it means Snyder and the NFL were lying: the name is intentionally racist, and specifically designed to demean the Native community.

    The fact is, no matter what the new name would be, we would know they are really the Washington “Redskins”; our children will know they were the Washington “Redskins”; and our grandchildren will know they are in actuality the “Redskins”.

    Essentially, until the end of time, the Washington franchise would be crippled by the stigma of being that racist, evil “team formerly known as the Redskins”.

    If anyone in favor of change can think of a solution to this issue, please post it below.

  86. Just hold on Danny! They were all democrats. After November the number will be down to 42.

  87. It has been obvious the Democrats plan for this election is to paint Republicans as racist. This just fits in with that strategy.

  88. The name Redskins does not refer to the color of their skin, but the color of the paint they used when going to war. This was a name created by Native Americans.

  89. The only people for whom this is a debate is the person that is uneducated on the issue. Look up the etymology of the word “redskin.” It originated with the indians. It is a word they coined.

  90. Meanwhile, the country is in debt, Social Security is set to be bankrupt in a year, the VA system is ripe with abuses, Russia is gobbling up neighbors, China is encroaching on it’s neighbor’s rights, and all the while the Senator’s “fiddle.”

    I am very glad to hear they have their fingers on the pulse of what is truly important and that they are leading the country to a bright and successful future!

  91. You got to love the politics of football. If the 50 senators were republicans then we would be reading about how they stick together. Truth be told the congress needs to worry about jobs and not the skins. Bill

  92. The Redskins football team is a business which happens to operate in the NFL. This is America there is no reason they should have to change the name of the team. Is the name or can the name be seen as offensive absolutely, but that does not mean that other people should tell someone how to operate their business.

    If people want the name changed stop going to their games, or buying the products of the business. No revenue will force the change to happen, and if it never happens how about this for a novel idea. Don’t watch the Redskins or the NFL or buy the jerseys or attend the games.

    Just because its offensive doesn’t mean it has to be policed. Same thing for Sterling let him keep the team and see what players will play for that team or what fans will attend that team, and by natural process Sterling would see a loss of profits and sell the teams.

    This used to be America, the land of free speech, not the land of speech that everyone must like.

  93. These are the same people wbo helped amass an $18 trillion debt. When they can balance a budget then maybe we’ll care about their take on other matters.

  94. I wish Someone would actually ASK what exactly are the Native Americans so mad about?! Yea, we hear it is a racist slur to them. But, I would like to hear some background on that. Everyone has their idea of what is and what isn’t racism. I would love to see a representative have some kind of set-up. A website, a presentation, a speech, a debate with Dan Snyder or Roger Goddell.

    Explain what exactly is the problem and provide some background about this. Because clearly this word is offensive to these people. Personally, if we’re all Americans and even a small fraction of people are offended. We need to respond and resolve it.

  95. 50 Republican Senators would have signed on but they’re too busy still trying to make Obama a one term President.

  96. Before I consider bashing GOPers about not signing this….

    Were they even asked or is this a Democratic Caucus point? I know there are GOP Senators who agree and should sign.

    It is just football people- no matter how much we love it- it is just a game.

    A suffering, gentrified, and consistently wronged ethnicity are not mascots.

    -Registered Republican in the midwest

  97. Quite honestly i’m sick of this topic, show me one instance where the team and or fans used the name in or for a racist purpose…if anything it’s been nothing but honor, as it tells of the Native American history when nations went to war against one another or against the pale faces…Hail to the Redskins, Braves on the Warpath…

    Their true pigmentation is not of RED SKIN as they have the same skin pigmentation as most hispanics and is with most races those pigmentations can vary from very light to darker shades. Yes even the pale faces who aren’t truly WHITE people have varying sking shades/pigmentation. Personally i’m more offended by those 50 politicians than the name of the team…and once again this comes from me who has 3 different Native American blood lines…Cherokee, Blackfoot and Choctaw, so PC folks can we let this go?

  98. It’s not that these politicians believe the name should be changed, or that they even care.

    But it’s good PR if you’re a worthless politician.

  99. I am not offended by being referred to as an “Indian” or a “Redskin” but then being offended is a choice…

    – Muscogee Creek Nation Number 32111

  100. The name Redskins does not refer to the color of their skin, but the color of the paint they used when going to war. This was a name created by Native Americans. Because some people have taken the name wrong and use it as a slur, and because other people continue in their ignorance of the term, we should change it? Should we stop using the term “American” because a large percentage of the people in the world use it as a slur? I would wager a larger percentage than that of Native Americans who do.

  101. pathetic….if everyone feels so sorry about the indians then give back the country..ya didnt think so

  102. There was a Redskin in Congress–Heath Shuler. His congressional career seems to have been just as uneventful as his football career. I love the Redskins’ name. It was never meant to be racist. Let it go!!!

  103. It was the Republicans, who didn’t sign the letter, who shut the country down a few months ago, not the Democrats, who mostly did sign.

  104. They all should be fired next election.

    We pay you to solve real problems…..

  105. This such a stupid argument. It’s a privately owned entity. On top of that there are multiple Native American High Schools that use the moniker Redskins.

    If it is that offensive why are they using the name. Goodell said if it offends one it has to be discussed. What if it offends one that people want it changed, that should be discussed as well.

  106. I seriously want Obama and the dems in congress to force him to change it. Then the lefties will finally figure out that there is no low the dems won’t stoop to to transform society and American business into their weird, highly controlled, robot eutopia.

    Actually, nevermind, liberals have never figured anything out independently. My bad.

  107. My nearly full-blood Cherokee wife has a different take on this. She says that the elimination of Native American mascot names–Redskins, Warriors, Braves, etc.–is simply part of a move to eliminate the Native American heritage from this nation. She says that, by taking away these mascot names, there will be fewer reminders of those who were on this great land first, who tried to defend themselves against Manifest Destiny, and who were herded onto reservations when it was all said and done. She says as Native Americans become more acculturated into the White culture, there need to be reminders of Native Culture. And, the fact is, the term “Redskin” arose from the way that Natives would apply natural red paint on themselves as they would go battle other tribes. Therefore, they became known as “red skins,” thus the term. While it may have been co-opted as a pejorative by some, it did not–unlike the term n….r–begin that way. In addition, research has continually shown that most Native Americans don’t care what the Washington NFL team calls itself and some, in fact, take pride in the nickname for the team. Also, most Native American Tribes realize that they have more pressing problems–unemployment, substance abuse, widespread diabetes, and other issues. These are far more important issues than the name of a professional football team.

  108. Yeah they really shut the country down all right. I live in Manhattan and if the news didn’t tell me it was a big deal I would have never known.

  109. The team and fans seems to really love and dwell in their past a lot. Some even still refer to and identify with them as ‘the hogs’ (from the 80’s for you youngsters) Just drop ‘Red’, use ‘Pig’ and call them the Pigskins and be done with it.

    1 – It’s an obvious connection to historic football with the term ‘pigskin’ and it implies a hard, tough smash mouth style of football…which by the way is not a bad model to use to build a team with.

    2 – Fans can still continue to refer to them as just ‘The Skins’

    3 – Fools can put their dresses and pig noses back on at the games again without looking like they’re just trying to relive the good ol days

    4 – Living in the past is overrated

  110. Fifty?? That’s nothing.

    I’m quite certain all 300+ million people living in the US would unanimously agree that these Senators (and the rest of our elected officials) should be concentrating far more on the job of running this country than needlessly and senselessly involving themselves in anything having to do with the name of a sports franchise.

  111. If Native Americans want the name gone, nuff said.

    Racism and ignorance will always be alive and well in this country.

  112. It’s better to educate than to turn everything into a vanilla-china glass, do not touch anything society. The only people affected by the name are those that actually put them in reservations -that was the real crime. Have you asked any real native if they dislike the name? Or helps remind of their legacy? Get educated folks and then decide.

  113. Have a vote with every registered Native American and if the majority of the Native Americans feel it is offensive, then change the name. Otherwise, back to your mulitimillion dollar campaigns and lobbiest dinners.

  114. This is ridiculous. When has “redskin” ever been used as a slur? Has it been 70 years since? Whenever someone says “redskin” these days all you think of is a football team.

  115. Country is broke, has a billion REAL problems and this is what they focus their time on. How anyone can actually respect these morons is beyond me.

    The whole political system is such a farce. A pity so many people are too busy watching reality tv and other crap to see what is going on.

  116. If … if the NFL were to consider it offensive and force a change they would be stating that they made money for years off of an offensive term.

    Wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect all that profiteering to be somehow “returned”. For example would they have a merchandise exchange?

    Also since the NFL owns its historical footage wouldn’t it be prudent to redact the footage – after all replaying the 91 superbowl would be profiteering off an offensive term.

    Then there are the records, the HOF, etc., I suppose those would have to be redacted.

  117. It seems that democRAT senators, since they are not doing their job, (passing a budget since 2010 for example) they need to do something with their spare time.

  118. Dear Senate, please govern our nation. Please don’t have hearings about steroids in baseball or the name of NFL teams.

    If you are upset about names, please see Oklahoma. I feel this is something you should be looking toward before you venture toward a privately owned sports franchise.

    The name Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw phrase okla humma, literally meaning red people.

    That is all.

  119. Just a political ploy for upcoming midterm elections. Dems are in trouble and they’re trying to make the GOP look like bigots. Again.

  120. okay, so i read the letter and I saw the video they prepared. Change the name but only to another Native and proper name. That is NOT “The Washington Native Americans”

  121. There are bigger problems in the world so let’s ignore the small ones and not bother doing the right and changing the racist name. How dumb of those senators, what with the debt and whatnot.

    I love comments sections.

  122. in my lifetime, i’ve heard just about every racial slur used. some with malice, some in jest. never once have i heard the term “redskin” used in a conversation that wasn’t centered around football.

  123. 300 Million people urge the Senate to stop being such jackasses every single day and they ignore us so why should anyone listen to them?

    If the Redskins change their name because of this idiotic political correctness then I will never ever attend or watch another NFL game.

  124. In light of the Donald Sterling comments I can understand why politicians, particularly Democrats, would like to have a talking point. This is a clearly a different issue.

    Remember when you were a kid and were told ‘sticks and stones may beak my bones, but names will never hurt me’? Are we following along.

    We continue to label things without respect for any residual affect. So now we are labelling Snyder, though he does have his faults, as a contributor to a racist agenda. This would be laughable if so many people didn’t take it so seriously.

    Evolution changes us physically and mentally, and change is good. The term ‘redskin’ has not been used in the last half century as a negative symbol for anything. How about we have Merriam Webster change the definition and call it a day.

  125. How many of those 50 senators we will see at FedEx field next season cheering on the Redskins. My guess is just about all of them!

  126. A collective, guilty conscience or something to keep us divided and distract the masses from what is really going on? Either way, I still can’t understand why the “Redskins” name draws so much outrage and not the most prestigious golf tournament in the USA, “The Masters”???

  127. I am not a Redskins fan, but in all my 68 years I have never once thought of that name as a racial slur. I don’t suppose there many native Americans who feel that way are there? If so than let them be the ones to call for a change. I am of Irish ancestry and if someone called a soccer team the whatever Micks, who cares. Will someone please use their voting power to put these jerks out to pasture and elect folks who will do some important work for the country?

  128. hey, you know what would totally convince people that the name isn’t offensive? just say “PC” a whole bunch of times.

  129. Eagles fan here so take it with a grain of salt, but I don’t understand why this is not being viewed as an opportunity. Snyder has been defensive, but this would be a great opportunity to rebrand and sell an awful lot of merchandise. Look at the college game and the fact that Oregon for instance has 25 different uniforms which has got to at least be in part be the fact that they want to sell them. From a business perspective, take a vote of the fans on a new team name and start pumping out the jerseys.

  130. Simple solution … Change the name or take away the team from Snider.

  131. If millions of voters wrote 50 senators about a specific issue nothing would get done…NFL should do the same…nothing

  132. If the name was derogatory toward any other racial/ethnic/religious group, there would be no discussion. But we’ve been, as a nation, so prejudiced toward native americans for so long that we think we’re entitled to our bigotry. I’m glad the senators had the guts to say something, and I hope the White House acts to remove the protection of the racist Washington team trademark.

  133. I guess some people’s strategy is to whine to death and hope that Snyder finally gets so annoyed he bends to their will. The truth is, it isn’t just Snyder who wants to keep the name. It’s the league and the other owners as well. That’s why the league has always paid for any legal expenses in regards to the name change. So for anyone to bash Snyder, chances are, the owner of your team doesn’t want the name changed either. The Redskins brand is too valuable and it will never change.

  134. How about you ask if the “name was derogatory toward” the group you incorrectly think it is, because it’s not. It doesn’t mean what you think it does, and Native Americans don’t consider it to be offensive.

  135. Racism:

    The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.


    A person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.

    where does any of that fit the description of snyder, and his belief of the redskin name?

    Racist and Racism is just the new hot word for any argument. Thin-skinned people really need to grow up.

  136. here’s a better idea, just get rid of the whole team. Aside from overpaying has-been free agents, what are they good for?

  137. Eagles fan here so take it with a grain of salt, but I don’t understand why this is not being viewed as an opportunity. Snyder has been defensive, but this would be a great opportunity to rebrand and sell an awful lot of merchandise. Look at the college game and the fact that Oregon for instance has 25 different uniforms which has got to at least be in part be the fact that they want to sell them. From a business perspective, take a vote of the fans on a new team name and start pumping out the jerseys.


    Last time they did that in DC they got renamed the Wizards, no thanks

  138. Every time I read something about sports and the Senate, I like to believe that that there’s a Senate for U.S. pro sports, and surely not the government Senate that should be focusing on way bigger issues.

    I think I’ll just keep pretending.

  139. Well, now that we’ve gotten this matter out of the way, I guess the Senate finally has time to start working on the $17 trillion dollar national debt.

  140. I realize the name is offensive to some, but is changing it actually going to improve the lives of the offended. How about theses senators focus on improving the impoverished condition many native Americans live in today?

  141. “It’s quite another for 50 members of the United State Senate — FIFTY — to sign a letter to the NFL ……..
    Via the New York Times, nearly half of the legislative body wants the name to be changed.”

    Is it 50 (EXACTLY HALF) or is it “nearly half”?

    Anyone with any logic employed at the NYT?

  142. How about everyone who thinks that the name should not change goes to the closest reserve and says “hail to the redskins” and then come back and report on how that was perceived.

  143. For politicians this must be the easiest ever bandwagon to jump onto. Healthcare? Defense? Taxes? Benghazi? IRS? VA? All too complicated, so why not be visible with a discussion about a football team’s name.

  144. If I were a redskins fan and the team ever changed its name, I WOULD NEVER SUPPORT THE TEAM AGAIN! I am so tired of the thought police – none of whom has any idea whatsoever with regard to the origin or meaning of the name. #never

  145. LOL…it’s amusing to see all of the PC Police getting their panties in a twist.

    Breathe, fellas! Go to a reservation, and I can tell you from experience that the LAST thing they care about is a name of a team. This whole charade is for you to feel better about yourself, and you know it deep down.

  146. Considering “redskins” were the skins of Indians that were collected, and then used as proof of killing an Indian, which were then presented for a monetary award (to federal agents, nonetheless), yes- “Redskin” is not only an offensive term, but is also a celebration of the genocide that the US government perpetuated against the natives, of the very land you each live in.

    Each one of you that defends such a horrific name should be ashamed.

    And to think- this team with it’s offensive name is in our own Capitol! What is wrong with you?

  147. Now lets change the names of all the teams to politically incorrect terms just to keep these goofy senators busy.

  148. Adeimantus Aletheia you are 100% wrong as to the origin of the name. It refers to the color of the war paint some tribes used.

    When you defend your side by telling lies, usually that means you are on the wrong side of an issue.

  149. Red in Redskins is a re: to Red War Paint worn in battle and NOT skin color.

  150. Next step will be that certain parts of the media will refer to the team as just Washington, not the Washington Redskins or the Redskins.
    The word Redskins is perceived as a slur to native Americans. This will be an ugly long battle until Dan Snyder simply changes the name.
    Anyone notice the absence of the Commissioner in defending the integrity of the shield on this one? $44 Million seems to be able to buy selective silence.

  151. Please tell how has the name Redskins offended all the people who “claim” to be offended? Has the name made you lose sleep, lose your jobs, your families, your appetite? The answer to the question is no.

  152. Dems have to act like they care to get minorities votes, it’s that simple.

  153. I think they should change the team name to “Senators”.
    Seems appropriate, considering the circumstances.

  154. The origin of a word is irrelevant; what is relevant, is what it is tied too. For instance, “red skin” was first used in 1699 in reference to men of “Red Skin” – there’s nothing offensive about that.

    In the 2003 Trademark debate, it was found that native Americans often referred to themselves as Redskins, in a brotherly way.

    None of this takes away from the fact that Indians, also called Redskins, were hunted for their skins (scalps), in order to get the bounty reward.

    If you want to defend the hunting of humans, that’s on you. But make sure you know what you’re defending.

  155. Let’s wait to see how PETA chimes in on all of the teams that use animal names in this cruel and violent sport that while entertaining has permanently mentally and physically altered people’s lives.

    Oh by the way tell Jerry Jones that he has the ownership of the real racist team name who did the political derogatory dirty work to negatively impact the predicament of the American Indians.

    Dan Snyder is not the one who has the goal to keep the American Indians on the reservations, but this government with it’s useless constituency represent the racists agenda.

    Tell one or 2 of those concerned politicians to express their true sincerity by giving up their senate seat to go do business from the reservations that they have been keeping them on bandage on.

    That’s been wrong for over 500 years. It was wrong then and it is still wrong now. Do some real work with a real issue and get your 50 big mouth cowards to change that!

  156. This is absurd. There was a poll taken of Native Americans and over 75% of them said that they had no problem with the name Redskins and many actually take pride in that being the name of the team. The name Indians is offensive to a much larger number of Native Americans than Redskins – after all, they are not from India. When is the Senate going to demand that Cleveland change the name of their team?! Or what about the Chiefs – or how about the Braves? Where does this nonsense end. If the Redskins are forced to change their name what is next?? Are the religious types going to start complaining about the Saints – there is no doubt that the players on that team as well as much of their staff is far from deserving of that name.

    No matter what you name a team there is someone out there who will find it offensive. Hell, some people find the name Dolphins offensive because they see dolphins as such peaceful creatures and football is a violent sport (no, I am not kidding). It is time to give this a rest. There is no way that the Redskins should change their name. They have proudly used the name for over 75 years and there is no reason to change it now. Even the overwhelming majority of those the name is supposed to be offensive to agree that the name should not be changed.

  157. 50 senators are pressuring an NFL team, private business, to change its name? This is none of their business, and their contention that “Redskins” is a slur is wrong. We are a nation with a diversified population. Naming a team after Native Americans is an acknowledgement of America’s diversity.

  158. How about the Oneidas and all the other butt-hurt snivelers pool their money, (a couple of billion should do it) and buy Snyder out? Then they have the right to call it whatever the hell they want.

  159. Funny they’re all democrats… I’m not a republican either, and I find that hilarious

  160. Geez! Is anyone ever going to give this one a rest? Even elder Indian counsel members didn’t find it offensive.

  161. 50 states have asked all politicians to resign immediately for wasting tax payer money on a topic that doesn’t concern their state!!!!

  162. Slur supporters know Redskins is an offensive term. Hell, even they opt for the PC and polite: “Native Americans this..” or “Indians that…” in their lame rehashed defenses. They, Snyder, nor Godell will EVER use “Redskin” in reference to the Native American population.

  163. And then the Senators got a hold of it and at that point Dan “Yellow-Liver” Snyder realized he had to do something about this, he could not keep dodging the will of the people by spinning yarns, telling tales, and covering up his sniveling butt with his nasty lies!

  164. Lol at everyone saying don’t they have something better to do when the president was addressing the sterling incident.

  165. Unfortunately, the senator running this show is sen. Maria Cantwell from MY state if WA. not d.c. And its a damn shame. Im ashamed that she is my senator and its absurd. I think, its the 50 senators who arw the racists and I dont think they like theyre city, d.c., being represented by a native mascot. Like it or not, the name keeps our history and native american history alive. I wouldnt be surprised if their real aim was to erase native americans from history all together. DO SOMETHING THAT MATTERS CANTWELL!

  166. Also, im sick and tired of people, telling people of other races what they should be offended by. According to the studies ive seen, a MAJORITY of native americans love the skins and ARE NOT offended by it. I wouldnt be surprised if theirs alterior motives behind this just like every other liberal agenda. Help those sufferring vets for Gods sake! These politicians are diagusting

  167. This will not end..its only a matter of time before the name gets changed.

    tick tick tick..

  168. Unless there’s an official declaration that the name is offensive,then nothing can be or should be done. If they litigate a name change then the can of worms opens and any name can be brought to charge. Indians,Seminoles,Fighting Irish,Braves,Celtics,heck PETA may rage against Wolverines,Gators and Bears. This has to be the owners call.

  169. Senators and others like them should be required to wear suits with their sponsors’ patches attached, as NASCAR drivers currently do. This would eliminate transparency and force them to focus on the general welfare of the people instead of this meaningless grandstanding.

  170. The Senators have more important things to worry about than what the name of a Professional sports team is. Last time I looked, they have enough trouble keeping the United States in order!! This is all brought about because of the Sterling issue.

  171. I’m ok with changing the name. As long as the team changes its name to the “Oilers” in honor of the grease job that those 50 senators get daily.

  172. The Somali Pirates called and they demanding that the Tampa Bay football team change their name. They are offended.

  173. Would you name a team the Denver Chinks? Or the Atlanta Gooks?

    Me neither. Change the name. It only exists because it existed before we were born and we never question things that’ve been been into our heads since birth.

    In 10 years no one will care. In 50 we’d laugh at 99/100 of the comments in this thread. In 100 we’ll forget racist sports names even existed.

  174. Fifty Senators send letter pushing NFL to change Redskins name and passing laws for name changes…..please get out of here with that nonsense. Pass a law that states that people shouldn’t be harassed by police officers and fake police in New York as well other states for just walking down the street. Pass a law that states that every person has a right to eat and work in this country. The real issues are real-life issues, real-life needs, and I think it’s time that people focus on the reality!

  175. Once you realize redskin refers to the scalps of murdered Indians, who were slain for their “red skins” (scalps), you’ll never want to refer to the Washington Professional Football team as that. It’s disgusting- the original use of the word doesn’t matter- what matters is settlers were literally paid out “per red skin” in pounds of sterling silver. They collected on warriors, females, and children.

    I can’t think of anything worse.

  176. Adeimantus: No, your wrong and where did u get your info from? Has nothing to do with scalps. Red in Redskins is re: Red War Paint not skin color or scalps.

  177. fink says: May 22, 2014 8:55 AM

    I’m a DC area resident, a longtime Redskins fan, and a season ticket holder.



  178. This is ridiculous. It is the name of a friggin team, that’s it. It’s not racist. Oh because the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians, Florida State Seminoles, they’re free and clear because it’s not a derogatory name? It’s the same thing. They better not change their name because I hate the Washington Redskins because I’m an Eagles fan. Another name won’t work. They are who they are.

  179. Just amazing how far left this country has gone. 50 left sided senators who can Google must have to know that it was red pigment put on the face to strike fear in the enemy. It had nothing to do about race, or the color of skin. And these 50 idiots are supposed to know the history of our country? And what is scary is, they are in control of our country, and our media that gets shoveled into our homes everyday.

    I bet not one of them has ever met an American Indian.

    If I was Daniel Snyder, I would rename the team the Washington White Skins just for revenge to this elite media left.

    Think of the firestorm from that one?

  180. On this Memorial Day it is important to recognize what a bunch of morons we are electing truly are…..

    Hail to the Redskins!

    Nothing but ill will to these 50 Democratic Senators and our POTUS! Nothing worse than these cretins.

  181. I doubt an owner of any franchise would start a legitimate business with an offensive undertone. Having a sports team named after a historical period in time is an absolute honor. From there, even more history was built onto that team. To strip them of their name is to strip them of their history and traditions.

    As a Browns fan, my team went to Baltimore. However, the team was resurrected with the same team name so although the great minds, players, and coaches left, I feel the history and traditions stayed.

    If the Redskins lose their team name and are forced to change their logo, they’re essentially a new team.

    YOU CANNOT CHANGE HISTORY. If you change the name now, it will not fix the games that have been played in the past under that team name.

    Just let the Redskins keep their name. They’re obviously trying to portray a STRONG IMAGE, nothing offensive.

    You don’t see ANY team names named after some weak demographic.

    “MIT Nerds”
    “Harvard Geeks”


  182. Incompetent management year after year no matter who is in Washington. I say change the name to the Washington Senators.

    Although I believe the name Redskins should be changed b/c it is offensive to Native Americans I’m not sure what’s funnier that 50 Democratic Senators sending a letter to the NFL or Goodell saying that the name Redskins has stood for 80 years & is not offensive.

  183. Last I checked the word “Redskin” actually is a noun describing a type of potato (a pretty good one at that) so referring it as a racial slur is pretty broad.

    With that being said IF native Americans don’t like that word and their image being used in the same connotation then it’s a simple fix. REMOVE THEIR IMAGE. It’s way easier and financially beneficial to change their logo than to change the name of the team less we forgot how much of a burden it was for Chad Johnson to change a name on just his jersey due to licensing issues.

    Great example of a team logo not fitting their mascot in the NFL being the Buffalo Bills who’s logo represents the CITY and not the actual real person the team was named after.

    I mean honestly a native American isn’t the only type of person who’s skin turns red. A senator after being caught in bed with someone other than their wife also has red skin so changing the logo works perfectly. Just sayin.

  184. Time changes history all the time.

    Historically, the world was flat.

    Historically, slavery was acceptable.

    Historically, women couldn’t vote, own property, or get an education.

    Historically, racism (overt or otherwise) was not only allowed, but legally protected.

    If you think that the mere fact of something occurring in history, is all the validation it needs to be right (ethically, legally, morally)- then you have serious mental and comprehension issues.

    Look- whether it was intended to be offensive or not, it IS offensive to many. And like all forms of harrassment or racism (intentional, or otherwise), it’s still offensive, and it should be addressed. These comments are like reading a “who’s who” of ignorance.

  185. Correct me if I am wrong here but isn’t the Washington team a long standing franchise? It has played in DC for years under the current name right in front of these politicians.
    It won Superbowls under that name.
    It has enjoyed quite a bit of success and notoriety under that name.

    So why are these Senators just now realizing that the name is offensive?

    Typical gutless politicians…leading from behind the issue. Follow the trend not set the trend.

  186. Compromise: Change it only if the 50 Senators who believe this is an important issue for our federal government to be addressing agree to resign immediately.

    A win-win. The name is changes, and the process of cleaning up Washington, DC begins.

    How many would take that deal? -0-

    And we all know it.

  187. First, the Redskins name was at least partially, and perhaps totally, conceived by their full-blooded American Indian head coach named Lone Star Dietz, some say at the bequest of his mother to honor her. When the Boston Braves football team changed their name in 1933 to the Boston Redskins–Lone Star’s first year as Redskins coach–they wanted a tie-in with the Boston Red Sox. The Redskins moved to Fenway Park that same year, and wanted some symmetry in the name with the already famous baseball team that occupied the same venue. With their head coach being a member of the Sioux Nation, it seemed like a perfect fit: the name Redskins was eventually agreed upon as a way of honoring both Native Americans and the Boston Red Sox.

  188. this insignificant crap may be one where we finally realize that PC and those that circumvent reason and intelligence and good of the people to it need to be dealt with… (did we not learn from this past presidential election of the costs of this kind of thing)

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