Congressman Urges Redskins to Change Name

Congress sent letters to the NFL and owner Dan Snyder urging the Redskins to change their name.
Congress sent letters to the NFL and owner Dan Snyder urging the Redskins to change their name.

Ten members of congress have sent letters urging Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s name. Snyder recently has stated that he will never, under any circumstance change the name of his franchise.

Letters sent from the congressman were sent to Snyder, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, team sponsor Fed-Ex, as well as the other 31 teams in the league. Among those sending the letters was the leaders of the Congressional Native American Caucus, who stated in their letter that “Native Americans throughout the country consider the ‘R-word’ a racial, derogatory slur akin to the ‘N-word’ among African Americans or the ‘W-word’ among Latinos.”

Names of the members of congress who urged the Washington Redskins to change their name were released by the Washington Post and are listed below:

Eni F.H.  of American Samoa, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, Betty McCollum of Minnesota, Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona, Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, Michael M. Honda of California, Donna M. Christensen of the Virginia Islands, Zoe Lofgren of California, Barbara Lee of California and Eleanor Holmes Norton of District of Columbia.

Goodell has previously stated that he supports Snyder’s stance on not changing the name of the team. Those in support of the team keeping its name cite the storied history that the franchise has had under that name. Changing the name would change the very foundation of the team.

However ignoring the pleas of Native American leaders will not be an easy task should they choose to continue this battle. This issue has resurfaced every now and then for the past few decades, however it always has seemed to blow over before it grew to the proportions that would actually cause a change. This time feels like it has a little more staying power thanks to the congressional backing to change the name of the Washington Redskins.

The Washington Redskins have been around in the NFL for a long period of time, and are not even the only Native American themed name in football. The Kansas City Chiefs name is apparently in no jeopardy, having heard no word of anyone pressuring them into a name change.

Congress getting involved in professional sports is a strange concept to me. Dan Snyder doesn’t seem to want to listen to congress, despite their urging him to change the name of the team to something more politically correct.

The Washington Redskins franchise came into the league in 1932, and has played under two nicknames. Both names were Native American themed, the first was the Braves, before they made the switch to the current name in 1933. Pressure to change the name of the team has existed since 1992, when reporter Clarence Page made his case in the Orlando Sentinel for the team to change a name equally offensive to calling itself the Washington Negroes, which people would never stand for.

The issue of whether the team name sounds like it will continue to heat up, but whether or not the urging of Congress on owner Dan Snyder ultimately leads to a name change for the storied franchise remains to be seen.

Follow me on twitter @CharlieGille

The Guardian Express

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