House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told The Hill this week it “probably would be a good idea” if the Washington Redskins changed their name.
Pelosi adds her name to a number of lawmakers who support the name change, as black clergy leaders in D.C. are promising to intensify pressure on the NFL.
Rev. Graylan Hagler, a senior minister at D.C.’s Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, says he’s been fighting to change the name for 20 years,
Hagler says it’s the equivalent of using the N-word. Last week, he said he has more than 100 clergy members committed to preaching for the name to be changed over the coming weeks, according to Religion News Service.
“Collectively, we’re speaking to thousands of people every week,” Hagler said.
He’s asked members of the clergy to petition at their churches and send them to the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“The derogatory term ‘redskin’ offends many Native Americans and others in this country,” reads Hagler’s petition. “This word, defined in the dictionary as a slur, should not be publicly marketed and celebrated in America, which is built on the ideals of respect and inclusion. As representatives of our faith communities, we believe that this is a moral issue and we therefore have an obligation to step forward to join the Change the Mascot movement.”
Team owner Daniel Snyder has dismissed criticism from Native American groups, like the Oneida Nation and the National Congress of American Indians, as well as congressional criticism.
Both Native American members of the House Indian Affairs Committee oppose the name.
Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn.; Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.; Dels. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and Eni Faleomavaega (D-A.S.); and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a champion of civil rights, have all spoken out against the name.