50 U.S. senators urge NFL to push for Redskins name change

Harry Reid
The letter asking the NFL to force the Redskins to change their name was endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
(T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty Images)

Politicians continue to weigh in on the appropriateness of Redskins as the name for Washington’s NFL team.

Fifty U.S. senators have asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to support a name change for the Redskins, calling supporters of the nickname “on the wrong side of history.”

“The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” says a letter signed by 49 Democratic senators and posted on the website of advocacy campaign Change the Mascot. “We urge the NFL to formally support and push for a name change for the Washington football team.”

A 50th lawmaker, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), wrote his own letter to Goodell urging the same, according to the Associated Press.


The letter signed by the 49 senators was circulated by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), but, according to the New York Times, was not circulated among any Republican senators.

Notably, among the five Democratic senators who didn’t sign the letter were Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, the state where the team holds its training camp.

The NFL defended the team’s name and the league’s record.

“The NFL has long demonstrated a commitment to progressive leadership on issues of diversity and inclusion, both on and off the field,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email. “The intent of the team’s name has always been to present a strong, positive and respectful image. The name is not used by the team or the NFL in any other context, though we respect those who view it differently.”


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