Half of U.S. Senators pushing NFL to force Redskins name change - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Half of U.S. Senators pushing NFL to force Redskins name change

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON (KNOE 8 News/AP) - Half the U.S. Senate urged NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday to change the Washington Redskins' name, saying it is a racist slur and the time is ripe to replace it.

In one letter, 49 senators cited the NBA's quick action recently to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life after he was heard on an audio recording making offensive comments about blacks. They said Goodell should formally push to rename the Redskins.

"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," read the letter, which did not use the word "Redskins."

Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, wrote his own letter saying he doesn't believe that retaining the Redskin name "is appropriate in this day and age." He described himself as "one of your great fans for both the game and you personally."

The letters come at a time of growing pressure to change the team name, with statements in recent months from President Barack Obama, lawmakers of both parties and civil rights groups.

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has refused to change the name, citing tradition. The franchise has been known as the Redskins since 1933, when it played in Boston.

Last month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., took to the Senate floor to say Snyder should "do what is morally right" and change the name. Thursday's letters were aimed directly at Goodell.

In a written response, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said "diversity and inclusion" have long been a focus of the NFL.

"The intent of the team's name has always been to present a strong, positive and respectful image," McCarthy said. "The name is not used by the team or the NFL in any other context, though we respect those that view it differently."

Reid and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., led the letter-writing effort. All senators on the letter are Democrats. Cantwell spokesman Jared Leopold said Republicans were not asked to participate.

Democrats not signing the letter were Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of nearby Virginia, where the team's headquarters are; Mark Pryor of Arkansas, in a tight re-election race this year; and Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, two of their party's more moderate lawmakers.

The senators noted that tribal organizations representing more than 2 million Native Americans across the U.S. have said they want the Redskins name dropped.

Despite federal laws protecting their identity, "Every Sunday during football season, the Washington, D.C., football team mocks their culture," they wrote.

"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 said.

In one letter, 49 senators cited the NBA's quick action recently to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life after he was heard on an audio recording making offensive comments about blacks. They said Goodell should formally push to rename the Redskins.

"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," read the letter, which did not use the word "Redskins."

Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, wrote his own letter saying he doesn't believe that retaining the Redskin name "is appropriate in this day and age." He described himself as "one of your great fans for both the game and you personally."

The letters come at a time of growing pressure to change the team name, with statements in recent months from President Barack Obama, lawmakers of both parties and civil rights groups.

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has refused to change the name, citing tradition. The franchise has been known as the Redskins since 1933, when it played in Boston.

Last month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., took to the Senate floor to say Snyder should "do what is morally right" and change the name. Thursday's letters were aimed directly at Goodell.

In a written response, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said "diversity and inclusion" have long been a focus of the NFL.

"The intent of the team's name has always been to present a strong, positive and respectful image," McCarthy said. "The name is not used by the team or the NFL in any other context, though we respect those that view it differently."

Reid and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., led the letter-writing effort. All senators on the letter are Democrats. Cantwell spokesman Jared Leopold said Republicans were not asked to participate.

Democrats not signing the letter were Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of nearby Virginia, where the team's headquarters are; Mark Pryor of Arkansas, in a tight re-election race this year; and Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, two of their party's more moderate lawmakers.

The senators noted that tribal organizations representing more than 2 million Native Americans across the U.S. have said they want the Redskins name dropped.

Despite federal laws protecting their identity, "Every Sunday during football season, the Washington, D.C., football team mocks their culture," they wrote.

"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 said.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 28 Monroe area businesses cited for selling to minors

    28 Monroe area businesses cited for selling to minors

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:51:09 GMT
    Baton Rouge, La. (KNOE 8 News ATC) - Agents with the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control recently conducted compliance checks at 173 businesses in the Monroe and West Monroe areas. During those compliance checks, 28 of the businesses, which consist of area restaurants, bars and convenience stores, were caught selling alcohol and tobacco products to minors.
    Baton Rouge, La. (KNOE 8 News ATC) - Agents with the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control recently conducted compliance checks at 173 businesses in the Monroe and West Monroe areas. During those compliance checks, 28 of the businesses, which consist of area restaurants, bars and convenience stores, were caught selling alcohol and tobacco products to minors.
  • Two arrests, officer tazed at Watermelon Festival

    Two arrests, officer tazed at Watermelon Festival

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:41 PM EDT2014-07-28 20:41:59 GMT
    FARMERVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News UPSO) - Union Parish sheriff’s deputies made at least two arrests over the Watermelon Festival weekend, one that involved a deputy getting tazed.
    FARMERVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News UPSO) - Union Parish sheriff’s deputies made at least two arrests over the Watermelon Festival weekend, one that involved a deputy getting tazed.
  • Union Parish School District employees get a raise

    Union Parish School District employees get a raise

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:17 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:17:56 GMT
    FARMERVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - It's Christmas in July for the Union Parish School Board employees. At this month's school board meeting, the board voted to give every employee a raise. 
    FARMERVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - It's Christmas in July for the Union Parish School Board employees. At this month's school board meeting, the board voted to give every employee a raise. 
  • West Monroe man arrested for meth possession

    West Monroe man arrested for meth possession

    Sunday, July 27 2014 9:09 PM EDT2014-07-28 01:09:38 GMT
    WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - West Monroe Police arrested a man early Sunday morning for possession of drugs.
    WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - West Monroe Police arrested a man early Sunday morning for possession of drugs.
  • McDonald's could lose "franchise" protection

    McDonald's could lose "franchise" protection

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:17 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:17:44 GMT
    (AP) - Under pressure from a barrage of lawsuits seeking fair treatment and wages, McDonald's could be on the verge of losing one of its main protections.
    (AP) - Under pressure from a barrage of lawsuits seeking fair treatment and wages, McDonald's could be on the verge of losing one of its main protections.
  • 17 hurt after multi-vehicle Madison Parish wreck

    17 hurt after multi-vehicle Madison Parish wreck

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:16 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:16:12 GMT
    DELTA, La. (AP) - A multiple-vehicle accident on the Mississippi River bridge connecting Madison Parish, Louisiana, and Warren County, Mississippi, has sent 17 people to a hospital, most with minor injuries.
    DELTA, La. (AP) - A multiple-vehicle accident on the Mississippi River bridge connecting Madison Parish, Louisiana, and Warren County, Mississippi, has sent 17 people to a hospital, most with minor injuries.
  • Passenger dies on US Airways flight to Phoenix

    Passenger dies on US Airways flight to Phoenix

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:18:01 GMT
    PHOENIX (AP) - Authorities in Phoenix say a passenger has died on a US Airways flight to Phoenix from Honolulu after a suffering an unknown medical emergency.
    PHOENIX (AP) - Authorities in Phoenix say a passenger has died on a US Airways flight to Phoenix from Honolulu after a suffering an unknown medical emergency.
  • Top Ebola doctor dies from the virus

    Top Ebola doctor dies from the virus

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:33:58 GMT
    Patrick Sawyer had one stop to make before heading home to Minnesota to celebrate his daughters' birthdays: a conference in Lagos, Nigeria.
    Patrick Sawyer had one stop to make before heading home to Minnesota to celebrate his daughters' birthdays: a conference in Lagos, Nigeria.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KNOE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.