News

Senators urge NFL to back Redskins’ name change

Senators urge NFL to back Redskins’ name change

REDSKINS:Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III puts his helmet back on after being tackled by the Baltimore Ravens defense in the first half of their NFL football game in Landover, Maryland in this Dec. 9, 2012. Photo: Reuters

By Ian Simpson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Fifty U.S. senators urged the National Football League on Thursday to endorse a name change for the Washington Redskins, saying the franchise’s name was a racial slur.

In a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the lawmakers said the league should follow the example of the National Basketball Association, which has banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for bigoted remarks.

“Today, 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,” wrote the senators, all of them Democrats or independents.

“It’s time for the NFL to endorse a name change for the Washington, D.C. football team.”

The letter adds pressure on Dan Snyder, the Redskins’ main owner. He has defied calls from activists and journalists for 14 years to change his team’s name and Indian logo.

Native American groups have fought for the name change in court and through advertising campaigns. Even President Barack Obama has weighed in, saying that if he owned the team, he would consider changing the name.

The letter was led by Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and signed by 47 other senators. Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, sent a separate letter to Goodell.

Goodell had said in January most football fans and Americans supported the Redskins’ keeping their name.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement that the league had not received the letter, but that the NFL has long shown a commitment to progressive leadership on diversity issues.

“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 that view it differently,” he said.

A Redskins spokesman said the team had no response to the letter.

(Editing by Dan Grebler and Bernadette Baum)

Recent Headlines

in Weird

Belligerent birds chase people at Florida park

Actress Tippi Hedren, star of the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film "The Birds," poses with Julian Jarrold, center, director of the HBO film "The Girl," and cast member Toby Jones on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Hedren's relationship with Hitchcock during the making of the film is the subject of the HBO film "The Girl."

In a scene straight out of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds," some out-of-control birds are chasing people at a central Florida park.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Billy Zane mistakenly thanks One Direction fans for support

Billy Zane arrives at the Global Green USA's 12th Annual Pre-Oscar Party at the Avalon Hollywood on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Actor Billy Zane pokes fun at the fact he shares a similar name to former One Direction member Zayn Malik in a new video.

in Weird

Loose police horse briefly on patrol in downtown Cleveland

horse

The horse stayed on the street during his escape but didn't stop at red lights.

in Weird

Dallas woman accused in illegal butt injections surrenders

Needles

Dallas police say a woman accused of providing illegal buttocks injections has surrendered to authorities.

in Music

Iron Maiden frontman returns to public eye

In this photo made available on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010, singer Bruce Dickinson performs during the concert of the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden at the Sziget (Island) Festival on the Shipyard Island in northern Budapest, Hungary, late Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010. The Island Festival is one of the biggest cultural events of Europe with an emphasis on music.

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson makes his first public appearance since undergoing treatment for cancer.