The battle over the Washington Redskins’ moniker has crossed overseas.
Two members of the British Parliament wrote a letter to Roger Goodell earlier this month, urging the NFL commissioner to change the nickname, which is regarded by many as offensive to Native Americans, or, alternatively, to send another team instead of the Redskins, who are scheduled to play Cincinnati at London’s Wembley Stadium on Oct. 30.
“As one of the U.S.’ biggest cultural exports finds success in the U.K., the sport’s values and standards come with it,” wrote Labor Party members Ian Austin and Ruth Smeeth. “Unfortunately, it is apparent that within these values there is a deliberate insensitivity and apparent hostility to a prominent minority group.”
They added: “We were shocked to learn of the derivation of the term ‘R*dskin,’ pertaining as it does to the historic abuse of native Americans, including the production of a piece of flesh as proof of kill by bounty hunters. The exportation of this racial slur to the U.K. this Autumn ... directly contravenes the values that many in Britain have worked so hard to instill.”
The letter concludes by asking “that the NFL consider changing the name of the Washington franchise or, at a minimum, send a different team to our country to represent the sport, one that does not promote a racial slur.”
The Redskins organization has withstood immense pressure in recent years to change the name, with owner Daniel Snyder vowing to never do so.
“A team’s name is a club decision,” Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s vice president of communications, told ESPN in an email. “We recognize there are strong views on both sides of this.”